President Barack Obama, who isn’t running for any political office anymore, will use the power of the presidency on Wednesday to help the Democratic Party raise money for the 2016 election.
The president will travel to Miami to attend a pair of Democratic National Committee fundraisers at the homes of well-heeled political donors in Coconut Grove. He will then visit the National Hurricane Center on Thursday to draw attention to preparedness in advance of the annual storm season that formally begins June 1.
The Democratic Party must cover some of the expenses of such political trips, but taxpayers usually foot at least part of the bill when the travel includes official presidential business.
For area motorists, Obama’s visit may clog traffic Wednesday afternoon on roads from Miami International Airport to the Grove. Air Force One is scheduled to land around 4 p.m., right around the start of rush hour. Major roads along the president’s route typically shut down temporarily to make way for the presidential motorcade.
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The first fund-raiser has been billed as a roundtable-style discussion for about 30 people at the home of mortgage broker Joe Falk. The second event is a dinner at the home of developer Stephen Bittel and his wife, Sabine, for about 60 people. Both raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
An invitation emailed to supporters last week asked for a $33,400 per-person contribution to attend the discussion, and at least $10,000 per person — or $15,000 per couple — to attend the dinner.
The trip will mark Obama’s third this year. He went to Florida International University in February for a television interview on immigration, and he dropped by Everglades National Park in April to celebrate Earth Day and speak about climate change.
He will be in Miami on the heels of a visit by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has several fundraisers scheduled in Miami-Dade, Broward and Seminole counties between Thursday and Friday.
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