The Youth Pander: Obama Officials Campaigning on Your Time and on Your Dime

by Ian Tuttle

The president, vice president, and administration officials from more than 30 departments and agencies are flying cross-country to visit high-school and college campuses — to campaign on taxpayer money. That’s the upshot of my piece today, based on research from the nonpartisan, nonprofit organization Generation Opportunity. Here is a taste:

The most frequent campus visitor is Obama himself, who made 40 trips during the 15 months from March 2011 to May 2012. Department of Education staff made more visits, 49, but they are distributed among several members, including secretary of education Arne Duncan, undersecretary Martha Kanter, and a host of other department officials, from “teaching ambassador fellows” to policy advisers. Joe Biden and Jill Biden have each made more than a dozen campus visits, and the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, have each had officials on a campus about once a month during the 15-month period. When commencement speeches are added, administration officials are on campus at the rate of at least one every 36 hours, and Labor, Transportation, and Health and Human Services are included among those departments that have sponsored more than a dozen campus visits. . . .

There is ample reason to believe that the Obama administration has exploited the murkiness of Federal Elections Committee law, if not directly violated it, to shore up a crumbling key demographic group — all at the taxpayers’ expense. The irony is that, had administration officials devoted their time to developing real solutions to the youth-unemployment crisis, they might not need so much time on the road to hunt for votes, the public coffers would be better off, and we would have a government that spends its time governing.

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