The Presidential Transition Act gives presidential nominees resources to plan their transition to the presidency ahead of the actual election, to help ensure that they're fully prepared to hit the ground running as president. The Romney campaign's use of those resources was governed by the General Services Administration, but even within those constraints, it reminds you that this is a campaign that's facing complaints from nine media outlets over inflated costs on the campaign trail. How do you spend $8.9 million?
The design, construction and space planning for the Romney team’s office space, which took up multiple floors in the Mary E. Switzer building a couple miles from the White House, cost about $2.5 million. The furniture bill came in around $740,000, and basics like office supplies cost about $30,000. The biggest chunk by far came from communications and related hardware. Items such as IT services, computer equipment and cell phones cost $5.6 million. The GSA noted that some of the resources would be recycled; Dell Latitude Laptops bought for Romney’s 500-strong transition team, for example, will be used by other parts of the federal government. Rent charges were waived by the GSA, as they traditionally are for transition teams during the President-Elect phase.That's $1,480 in furniture, $60 in office supplies, and $11,200 in computers, cell phones, and IT services for each member of Romney's transition team. In addition to the rent being waived, salaries are not included in what the GSA covers. By contrast, in 2008, when Barack Obama was actually elected president and began his transition after the election:
Mr. Podesta said he expected the transition to employ some 450 people and have a budget of about $12 million. Of that amount, $5.2 million will be paid by the government, with the remaining $6.8 million coming from private sources, he said. Contributions will be limited to $5,000, he said, and the transition will not accept money from political action committees.The issue is not that Romney was measuring the drapes—it's a good idea for the law to provide for the smoothest possible transition of power. It's that the drapes he was measuring were apparently spun from gold and unicorn hair. And the costs associated with the transition-that-wasn't are one more piece of evidence that the managerial skills Romney based his candidacy on, telling voters that he knew how to run things more efficiently than President Obama, were a sham, a scam, or both. Romney's campaign wasted the media's money on $745-per-person debate-watching parties, it wasted its own money on ad placement, and it's hard to see how these transition expenses weren't wasting the government's money. Romney might personally be a cheapskate who makes popcorn at home and brings it to the movies, but his campaign spending was more in the car elevator vein.
(Via blue aardvark)