In today's story about the campaign travel expense squabble in the governor's race, I reported that I found $9,867.39 in reimbursements Howard Dean made to the state over five elections. That comes about just under $2,000 an election.
Not all of what Dean repaid was for mileage traveled in a car to campaign events. I found $7,566.92 in mileage/travel reimbursements. Some of the travel was to Democratic Governors Association meetings, not just miles on Vermont roads.
Assuming about $1,500 went for travel each election and all of it was in a car (no flights to DC or wherever.), and using 33 cents per mile which is kind of in the middle of the mileage payment figures I found for 1992-2002, Howard was paying for 4,545 miles per election. Does that sound like a lot or a little?
, the Democratic candidate making a stink about Jim Douglas failure to keep track of travel that is strictly campaign related and pay for the mileage with some of his $1.25 million campaign contributions would say paying for 4,500 miles is better than nothing.Dennise
Casey, Douglas' campaign manager, argues that every trip is the governor being the governor.
If one believed
in separating campaign expenses, it is complicated. Symington
admitted that and Kate O'Connor, Dean's former aide and campaign manager, confirmed it was a bit of a hassle. Still, a look at Douglas' schedule today suggests it might not be that hard to separate out some mileage. Today (Thursday) he was doing a radio interview, then going to Brandon for campaign stops with Rep. Joe Acinapura
and visits to a couple of businesses. He was holding a press conference at one. Then he was heading to Bennington
for another campaign related press conference, followed by touring and sign waving with Rep. Joe Krawczyk
all afternoon. The only official business of the day was listed as 6:30 p.m.
So the mileage from downtown Middlebury
is 96 miles (thank you, Mapquest
). Allowing that he had official business as well as campaigning scheduled, one could charge half the trip to the taxpayers and half to the campaign. The bill for traveling 96 miles would be $55.68 using the current state mileage reimbursement of 58.5 cents per mile.
So should that money be repaid?
-- Nancy Remsen