Costs of Campaigning: Who Pays? | God's World News

Costs of Campaigning: Who Pays?

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    President Joe Biden boards Air Force One at Boston-Logan International Airport on May 21, 2024, in East Boston, Massachusetts. (AP/Alex Brandon)
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    Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally on June 9, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (AP/John Locher)
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    Marine One lands on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C. (AP/Evan Vucci)
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    Secret Service agents stand around a presidential limo. (AP/Andrew Harnik)
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Campaigning for a shot at the presidency involves lots of traveling. Usually, the candidate’s campaign pays for travel expenses. But when a current president runs for reelection, who picks up the tab? The campaign—or taxpayers? That all depends.

It’s an important question. It’s very expensive for a president to travel. President Joe Biden’s most recognizable jet is a Boeing 747 called Air Force One. Nicknamed “The Flying Oval Office,” Air Force One holds more than 50,000 gallons of fuel. Operating the jet costs about $200,000 every hour. A group of helicopters called Marine Helicopter Squadron One comes along for mid-air security. (If the President is aboard one of those helicopters, then it gets the nickname Marine One.) Each of those helicopters costs around $20,000 every hour (roughly the price of a new Mitsubishi Mirage). And that’s just the flying part. When he arrives at his destination, President Biden needs armored limousines, Secret Service and local security personnel, and dozens of other precautions in place for protection.

Sometimes, a campaign event and an official visit are the same thing. For example, the President met with steel workers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in April. That trip could have doubled as an opportunity to build reelection support among blue collar workers. It’s complicated to figure out whether the government (taxpayers) pays the expenses, or if his campaign foots the bill.

Still, President Biden does travel strictly for campaigning purposes at times. For such events, he has a fundraising committee that reports campaign spending to the federal government every month.

As of early May, President Biden’s campaign has almost $200 million ready to use. About $6.5 million of that is earmarked for travel expenses. But even with that cash at his disposal, he doesn’t pay for everything. He pays for his Air Force One seat, similar to buying a really, really expensive plane ticket. So far, he has spent around $300,000, just to get to where he needs to be on his campaign trail. He will likely have to pay a lot more once the election is over. At the end of 2020, former President Donald Trump shelled out around $4.7 million in travel expenses alone.

While he’s out stumping, President Biden doesn’t have to pay for his Secret Service protection. This expense tallies up to the taxpayers no matter where he goes. Secret Service members accompany the President everywhere. We mean everywhere. Even if he’s headed to the beach!

—by Bekah McCallum in Duluth, Georgia

Why? It would be problematic if a sitting president used taxpayer dollars to ensure reelection. Watching how public money is used helps us steward well what God has given us while holding leaders accountable.

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