Candidates running for higher office while still holding their current one always face this problem, although Kerry does seem to be carrying the absentee bit further than most. His Senate salary, while modest in the context of the Heinz fortune, amounts to an undeclared taxpayer donation to his campaign since he has essentially been paid to run for president. My preference would be for all candidates seeking election to an office other than the one they currently hold to do so as private citizens.This “undeclared taxpayer donation” is a true pittance compared to the much more egregious undeclared taxpayer donation to the bush campaign. I suspect that a single Air Force One campaign trip would pay kerry’s salary many time over.
Fairness suggests that both candidates should clearly account for time at work and at campaign and repay the taxpayer out of their campaign funds. This should be the practice for all office holders running for a higher office.
If the president is mixing state business (real or alleged) and campaig activities on the same trip he should not get to charge it all to the taxpayers.
Update (6/17): Sorry, I left off the link to James’ post.