New Obama Vacation Costs Uncovered: Now Exceed $70 million
|The happy travelers. (Investor's Business Daily |
via Olivier Douliery/Newscom)
That's how eager the Obama administration is about being transparent when it comes to spending large sums of taxpayers' money on itself.
As with the slow-motion releases of Hillary Clinton's emails, the idea of bureaucratic stalling, of course, is that the details become "old" news more likely to be ignored by media. Fortunately, we're not on vacation this week, so we can help the president out. Here goes:
The new expense reports, heavily-redacted allegedly for security reasons, push the total known costs for vacations during Obama's reign to nearly $71 million -- with another full year to go. That's about $10.1 million per year in known expenses.
The totals come from Judicial Watch, the dogged watchdog group that pursues such information through repeated Freedom of Information Act requests.
Earlier this year Judicial Watch obtained transportation costs for a pair of the Democrat's cross-country golf weekends just in 2015. They totaled nearly $2 million, or $20,000 per hole, the Washington Examiner calculated.
In February, for instance, Obama spent President's Weekend golfing with male friends in Palm Springs. At $206,000 per flight hour, that trip set taxpayers back $1.03 million. That does not include other costs such as security and transportation.
Of course, even with Camp David available for free in Maryland every president goes on vacation, though none have gone so far so often as the Obamas, sometimes in separate planes.
Their family trips to Hawaii, for example, require at least 18 hours of Air Force One flight time at $206,000 per flight hour. Or $3.7 million minimum.
Complaints of over-spending on personal travel have dogged this first couple starting with Michelle Obama's luxury vacation with friends to Spain at the peak of the recession and subsequent family excursions during the nation's weakest economic recovery since World War II.
As we reported earlier this year: The Obamas have "traveled more than any other first family, often with Mrs. Obama's mother and her friends. By the summer of 2014 the Obamas had taken 31 international trips lasting 119 days. At the same point in his presidency, Ronald Reagan had taken 14 such trips over 73 days.
"When the family visited Ireland in 2013, taxpayers were hit for just under $8 million, including a quarter-million dollars for a two-day side-trip to Dublin for the Obama women. They chose a $3,500-per-night hotel suite in addition to 29 other rooms for their traveling party at the five-star hotel.
"Last year when Mrs. Obama, her mother and two daughters toured China, they stayed in a Beijing hotel suite costing $8,400 per night."
Joe Biden, currently vacationing with his wife in the Virgin Islands, hasn't exactly suffered on the road either. Two years ago an unusually large Biden entourage ran up a London hotel bill of $480,000 in one night.The next day in Paris, Biden's tab was $585,000, again for a single night.
The latest expense revelations extracted from the Secret Service by Judicial Watch seem almost a bargain by comparison. They show, among other things, $92,000 for rental cars and $225,000 for lodging paid to Paradise Luxury Rentals and Cabana Girl LLC for agents during the Obamas' 2013 Hawaii holiday.
"It is easy to see why the Secret Service, reeling from its own scandals, covered up these outrageous expense numbers for just one of Obama’s luxury Christmas vacations,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The $317,000 in Secret Service expenses are only the tip of the iceberg for the true cost of Obama’s 2013 vacation in Hawaii, which has now skyrocketed to $8,098,060."
The organization has another lawsuit pending against the Department of Homeland Security for ignoring an additional 19 Freedom of Information
Andrew H. Malcolm is a veteran national and foreign correspondent, editor, editorial writer and blogger, who’s spent nearly four decades on three major U.S. newspapers and another eight years in government and politics. He is a columnist at Investor’s Business Daily where this article was first published.
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