Since April, President Obama has set a torrid fundraising pace, accumulating $40 million for fellow Democrats. Breaking all previous fundraising records by a president in the first year of a second term, Obama attended 30 fundraising events for wealthy donors in ten cites.
The numbers released by The Guardian show Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, made just 11 trips in the same span of his term.
Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School campaign finance expert, says the frequent fundraising engagements are a detriment to the President’s ability to do his job. “The downside of all this time spent away from office is the time the president is not doing his job as chief executive, promoting legislation or working with Congress,” she commented.
With his focus on helping Democrat hopefuls running for the 2014 midterm elections, Obama frequently tells his wealthy donors, “I’ve run my last campaign, [but] being friends with a politician is like perpetually having a kid in college, every so often, you got to write this big check. And you’re trying to figure out where is this money going.” He adds, “Now, the good news is: I’m about to graduate. I can’t say the same for the rest of these elected officials here.”
The fundraising venues are held at many Hollywood moguls’ mansions and wealthy businessmen’s luxurious townhouses from Florida to California. Wealthy Cuban businessman Jose Mas Santos, former News Corp. President Peter Chernin, entertainer Justin Timberlake, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, director/producer JJ Abrams, and Walt Disney chairmen Bob Iger have all contributed generously and have lent support to Obama.
The estimated hourly cost of travel on Air Force One to the American taxpayer is $180,000.