The Republican National Committee has filed an official complaint with the Government Accountability Office over President Barack Obama’s use of official resources for campaign travel.
In a letter to the watchdog agency, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus writes to call attention “to a case of misuse of government funds benefitting “Obama for America” (OFA), otherwise known as the president’s reelection campaign.”
Priebus pointed to Obama’s current trip to North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa — three battleground states — to discuss extending lower interest rates on student loans as examples of this tax-payer funded campaign travel.
“One might imagine that if this were genuinely a government event he might have stopped in a non-battleground state like Texas or Vermont,” Priebus said.
“This President and Air Force One seem to have a magic magnet that only seem to land in battleground states in this country,” Priebus told reporters earlier Wednesday before the complaint was drafted.
Priebus also raised questions about Obama’s travel to Florida two weeks ago — in which an official speech was added to a day of fundraising, allowing the campaign to save on some travel costs.
“This speech was high on class warfare, slogans, and divisive campaign style rhetoric,” he said. “It was low on substance that would benefit the populace at large.”
Priebus also took a shot at the GSA — the General Services Administration — which remains embroiled in scandal after revelations of an extravagant taxpayer-funded retreat in Las Vegas.
“Understandably, much of your time may be currently occupied investigating the lavish taxpayer-funded General Services Administration Vegas vacation,” Priebus wrote. “And assuming your office, unlike GSA, does not employ a mind reader, we felt it was necessary to file a formal complaint. We request an immediate review of this matter and a formal inquiry into whether this pattern constitutes fraud. Because this behavior shows no sign of changing, action must be taken with haste to protect the taxpayers who are being cheated by their government.”
The Obama campaign deferred comment to the White House, which did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed.
UPDATE: White House Spokesman Eric Schultz responded in a statement:
“This week’s travel has been part of the President’s official responsibility to get outside of Washington, DC, hear from students, and discuss stopping interest rates on their loans from doubling in July – just like Friday’s trip to Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia to meet with troops, veterans, and military families is likewise part of the President’s official responsibilities. When there is political travel, we follow all rules and regulations that all other Administrations have followed.”
UPDATE 2: GAO Spokesman Charles Young told BuzzFeed that the watchdog agency has yet to receive the RNC letter. “But we conduct our work at the request of the Congress.”