I’ve noticed a few people who have gotten their panties in a wad recently over a recent Newsweek article: Secret Service Paying Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Campaign: Report
Since I know most people rarely make it beyond the headline, a picture and hateful comments shared by their buddies on Facebook, I thought I would dig in, do a little fact checking and truth finding on the topic.
Here’s what I’ve found:
It IS standard practice for Secret Service, which is tasked with protecting presidential candidates as well as presidents and other federal officials, to reimburse presidential campaigns for the cost of traveling with the candidates. The government’s practice of reimbursing campaigns for costs mounted by their Secret Service details goes back to when campaigns were lower-budget affairs, the logic being candidates shouldn’t have to use their own resources on required security.
Federal Election Commission records show that Secret Service has paid the Trump campaign roughly $1.6 million to cover the cost of flying its agents with the candidate on a plane owned and operated by one of his companies. Secret Service has also reimbursed the Clinton campaign approximately $2.6 million for the same time period, but for about half the actual flying time or use.
If Hillary traveled nearly as much as Donald Trump does or campaigned half as hard, can you imagine what her bill would be?
Most people are upset that Trump does own his own plane, so why are taxpayers paying his company for Secret Service. Well, that’s because it is required. Never mind that use of his own plane REDUCES the cost to taxpayers to the tune of $1 million PLUS.
A typical flight with this particular 757 costs about $16,877 an hour for fuel and other variable costs.
The Trump Campaign pays his jet-management company for the aircraft under an arrangement worked out with the Federal Election Commission. The FEC requires campaigns using aircraft owned by the candidate or their associates to report it as an in-kind gift, and requires campaigns to reimburse plane owners for costs including fuel, crew services and a share of the maintenance.
Because Mr. Trump’s campaign is largely self-financed, he is in effect reimbursing himself for use of his planes and that doesn’t sit well with Hillary supporters. But you know, when I compare the numbers, I don’t see much for people to bitch about his bill is half the cost for twice the time, maybe more – after all, she has been quite sick lately.
If you have a problem with the FEC requirements, that’s something you need to take up with your choice politicians.
Gayla – follow me @Gayla