Even though Hillary Clinton came out of her 50,000-mile Quixotic quest with less wins in her corner than Sarah Palin stacks up in one election cycle alone, the Democratic party may have spent three quarters of a million dollars jetting her from state to state, trying to use Hillary’s electric personality and Bill’s hypnotic speaking voice to boost their candidates. And those are just the early estimates. Since some of the campaigns have yet to finish filing expenditures, the Clintons’ bill could top $1 million.
Bill and Hillary Clinton were the most sought after surrogates in the Democratic Party this year. He campaigned for more than 47 candidates. She for more than 26. Supporters estimate that, together, the Clintons headlined 75 rallies and fundraisers — and logged roughly 50,000 miles jetting from state to state.
When the Clintons travel, they fly private. This year, their airfare cost candidates at least $699,000, available state and federal campaign finance reports show.
Payments from campaigns and party committees to Executive Fliteways, the independent charter company the Clintons use, could be found for just under half of the trips the former first family took on behalf of Democrats this year.
No one who flies in for a campaign event can pay for their own flight. Candidates must pay or record the cost as an in-kind contribution. According to filings, the candidates paid – on average $21,000 – for each time they flew a Clinton in to prop up their flagging campaign with a photo opportunity. And that’s just the airfare. We’ve learned from the Clintons’ speaking engagements that they also require a hotel and cannot merely subsist on the tears of their political enemies, and as such require food.
And all of it would have been worth (for the candidates and the Clintons) it had the candidates won, but if you look at Buzzfeed’s rundown of exactly who was jetting in the Clintons, most of the big names were soundly defeated, even Sen. Tom Harkin, whose Iowa Steak Fry, considered a must-do event for anyone looking to compete in the Iowa caucuses, drew both Hillary and her husband. And now Tom Harkin won’t even be around to share a stage with at the Iowa State Fair.