When a US President jumps on AF-1 and flies around the country making campaign stops for his party’s candidates is that something US taxpayers are paying for? I realize we’re paying his salary to do that, but who pays for the logistics and security costs of those purely political trips?
We pay, of course, just like we pay when he flies to Florida to play golf, etc.
Here is an article from NPR on the question. In short, for a purely political trip, the campaign reimburses the government for the cost of an equivalent charter flight necessary to carry the campaign staffers. The government is still responsible for the costs of carrying the security personnel, those with the Office of the President and the national security equipment.
If it’s a purely political trip, then it’s reimbursed by his campaign chest or the party or whatever. Under election laws, US government property and resources can’t be used for political activities. If it’s a mix - he’s traveling someplace for a administrative meeting AND making a campaign speech or fundraiser - then it’s worked out proportionally.
As Dewey Finn notes, we taxpayer’s are hardly reimbursed at all. The difference between flying Air Force One around vs a charter flight is immense.
I am not sure of the year that the change was made. But at one time it was all on the taxpayer. But someone took it to court and the ruling was that if the trip was for political purpose then the government was to be reimbursed for its expense.
But if the trip was in the performance of duties of the office then it was on the taxpayers.
But if the trip was dual purpose then the expense of the political part of the trip had to be reimbursed.
Every President since has tried to make the trip dual purpose. President flys to a city to check out a new industrial plant (or some other thing). Tax payers pay. But while in town he stays another day and he makes an appearance at a political rally. Taxpayers are reimbursed for the extra day at the hotel and his transportation to and from the ralley.
This is not a new thing but been goning on for years.
How independent from the President is the agency that audits these trips?