More and more media attention has come to the astounding use of official travel by the Obama administration for partisan political presentations. The Blaze reported earlier this week that since March 2011, President Obama and the cabinet have made over 300 visits just to colleges and high schools at the expense of the taxpayer. At these events in question, speakers often blurred the line between presenting information on and explaining administration policies, and campaigning for the president. Now POLITICO has released a report showing that cabinet members have made over 80 taxpayer-funded trips and fundraisers, mixing policy and politics in key swing states over the past year at the direction of Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, top strategist David Axelrod and Democratic National Committee Executive Director Patrick Gaspard.
A half-dozen Cabinet members have made more than 85 trips this year to electoral battlegrounds such as Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to a POLITICO review of public speeches and news clippings.
Those swing-state visits represent roughly half of all travel for those six Cabinet officials this year.
The rhetoric from the secretaries has at times detoured into fiery defenses that echo the campaign messaging of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. In addition, some secretaries — Housing and Urban Development’s Shaun Donovan and Education’s Arne Duncan — have helped the reelection effort by engaging in off-the-clock fundraising and massaging of local donors.
While POLITICO notes that the Cabinet trips "aren’t illegal, unethical or even unusual," if official travel and taxpayer-funded, cabinet members must stick to presenting information; giving direction; explaining, and securing public support for Administration policies. Not representing their political party.
An Obama campaign spokesperson tells POLITICO that Cabinet secretaries are not being tasked to raise money, though some do attend campaign events as featured speakers.