It’s a common and questionable practice pursued by recent presidents, Republican and Democratic: Fly somewhere to raise money, throw in an official event, and have the taxpayers pick up the dime for some of the travel since a portion of the work is government business.
Now, it appears, the first lady is and will be and active participant in this seedy practice, at an extra cost to taxpayers.
Mrs. Obama will be in California today and tomorrow, visiting Los Angeles, Pasadena, Oakland and San Francisco. She will hold two official “first lady” events and be the star attraction at FOUR fundraisers.
Whether she would have attended the official events if she wasn’t going to troll for money is anyone’s guess. But what seems likely is the cost of flying Michelle out to the West Coast so she can soak the legions of wealthy Californian Democrats for cash is being mitigated by having the official appearances on the schedule.
The first lady’s office did not respond to a request for information about whether and how much of the trip will be paid for by the government. But with official events scheduled, it’s very safe to assume that a chunk – perhaps most – of the first lady’s travel aboard a specially equipped air force plane along with her security detail and entourage will be paid for by taxpayers.
Mrs. Obama today will hold a fundraising luncheon in Pasadena and a dinner in Los Angeles. Tomorrow, cash will pass hands at a breakfast in Oakland and a lunch in San Francisco.
TV crews will be BARRED from the fundraising events, which will instead be covered by a limited “pool” of print reporters.
TV crews will be permitted, however, into Mrs. Obama’s first official event today at 10:00 am PDT, an appearance with Hollywood types to promote her “Joining Forces” initiative to support military families. At 3:00 pm, she will tape an appearance on the iCarly children’s show, again to promote Joining Forces.