President Barack Obama may have waited until May to announce the start of his campaign, but he has hit the ground running to generate millions for his reelection bid—even when on "official business."
Obama will headline six fundraisers today in a bid to pump more than $7 million into his campaign. ABC News reports:
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Flying to Minnesota under the banner of "official business" – an event at a Honeywell factory in a Minneapolis suburb – Obama will quickly turn to politics, lunching with three separate sets of donors at the downtown Bachelor Farmer restaurant, an eatery owned by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s two sons, Eric and Andrew.
The president will first address a group of 100 guests, each paying $5,000 a plate. He then will meet privately with two small roundtables of deep-pocket supporters – one group paying $40,000 per person; the other $50,000 per person, a campaign official said. (The $50k ticket price is the largest for any Obama fundraiser held since the start of the campaign.)
The official business tag allows Obama to charge the costs of the trip, including nearly $180,000 per hour for using Air Force One, to taxpayers.
Obama came under fire in April for holding "official events" in swing states, such as Colorado, Iowa, and Florida, while also hosting fundraisers. By the end of April—before the official kick-off of his reelection effort—the Obama campaign had reimbursed taxpayers more than $1.5 million for campaign events—$200,000 more than Bush did for the entire 2004 campaign.