By Amie Parnes - 04/25/12 09:35 PM EDT
The Republican National Committee is asking the Government Accountability Office to examine President Obama's "misuse" of government funds to benefit his reelection campaign.
In an official complaint filed with the GAO, a watchdog agency, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus accuses Obama of "passing off campaign travel as official events," using taxpayer money to fund his reelection efforts.
Priebus said "the most recent example" of abuse took place this week as Obama traveled to North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa, three battleground states to promote student loan legislation. The RNC chairman points out that Obama delivered speeches to "cheering crowds of college students" which resembled campaign events.
"One might imagine that if this were genuinely a government event, he might have stopped in a non-battleground state like Texas or Vermont," Priebus said.
The White House has maintained in recent months that Obama is not campaigning and that the stops are "official" business. But more and more recently the events have resembled campaign events, with crowds chanting "Four more years!"
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Last week, press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the White House is doing everything "by the book."
"The president is the president 24 hours a day and seven days a week, and he has to fly on Air Force One," Carney said. "He has to have security and communication. There are elements of his job that are always with him, regardless of whether he's in a campaign event or an official event. And costs are apportioned accordingly."
White House spokesman Eric Schultz maintained on Wednesday that when there is political travel, "we follow all rules and regulations that all other administrations have followed."
“This week’s travel has been part of the President’s official responsibility to get outside of Washington, DC, hear from students, and discuss stopping interest rates on their loans from doubling in July – just like Friday’s trip to Fort Stewart in Hinesville, Georgia to meet with troops, veterans, and military families is likewise part of the President’s official responsibilities," Schultz said.