FORT MYERS, Fla. - It's your money and the federal government is spending more than a hundred million dollars of it this campaign season.
The Presidential race is the most expensive in history. With almost all of the money coming from the campaigns, but taxpayers are still stuck with a large bill from both parties.
We'll start with the President. This issue comes up every time an incumbent is running for re-election, because they have to use Air Force One for official, political and personal trips.
According to government estimates, it costs $179,750 an hour to operate the 747. That covers fuel, maintenance, engineering support, along with food and lodging for the pilots.
During political trips, the re-elect campaign has to pay the equivalent of what they would have paid on a commercial airline. But taxpayers still have to foot the bill for Secret Service protection.
And that brings us to the challenger, Governor Mitt Romney. Obviously, Romney doesn't have the benefit of using Air Force One, so the campaign has to pay for its own plane. Again though, it's taxpayers who are stuck with the bill for the Secret Service agents.
How much are we spending there?
This year the Secret Service requested $113.4 million to protect the candidates. That's up from $112 million in 2008. Published reports show the agency spent $74 million in 2004 and $54 million in 2000.
And that's just for the travel. You already paid more than $130 million for the two political conventions, including $36 million for party planning.