WASHINGTON, DC – This week, Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) questioned the White House and Trump campaign over how, and to what extent, the Trump campaign reimburses the public for campaign-related activities that utilize official government resources.
In letters to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump Campaign Treasurer Bradley Crate, Lofgren cites “recent news reports indicat[ing] that President Trump flew to more than 40 political rallies in advance of the 2018 midterm elections,” and his “campaign-related travel in advance of the 2020 election is well underway.”
President Trump has frequently mixed official travel with campaign-related political purposes, including the use of Air Force One. Lofgren’s letters note just last week, the President “filmed a video criticizing an opponent in the presidential race while aboard Air Force One.”
The letters read:
“Federal law provides that appropriated funds should only be used for the purposes for which they are appropriated. Moreover, as you know, campaign finance regulations provide rules governing how a campaign, including a presidential campaign, should pay for travel aboard a government aircraft
“However, because the formula that the White House uses to determine reimbursement rates is shrouded from public scrutiny, the public has very little insight into whether and by what magnitude the American taxpayer is subsidizing the president’s campaign activities, including how the White House determines which events merit reimbursement.”
Accordingly, Lofgren requested the following information from the White House and Trump Campaign by June 20, 2019:
- Any documents, communications and records that provide guidance concerning how expenses are apportioned for official and non-official travel, including the formula or policy that the campaign and White House use to determine how to pay for presidential travel.
- A list of all events that the campaign and White House determined required payment from the president’s campaign committee to cover travel expenses.
- A list of all events that the campaign and White House determined required payment from another entity, including the federal government, to cover travel expenses.
- Any guidance from the Department of Justice or the Federal Election Commission concerning presidential travel, including travel by the Vice President.
The full text of the letter to the White House can be found here.
The full text of the letter to the Trump Campaign can be found here.
Oversight of federal elections is one of the chief tasks of the Committee on House Administration. Historically, the committee has had a hand in shaping legislation that touches on all aspects of federal elections. Issues concerning corrupt practices, contested congressional elections, campaign finance disclosures, and credentials and qualifications of House Members also fall under its purview.
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