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(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it has obtained records from the United States Air Force and the United States Secret Service detailing Michelle Obama’s February 2012 President’s Day weekend ski vacation to Aspen, Colorado, with her two daughters.

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Judicial Watch obtained the records pursuant to a May 31, 2012, lawsuit against both government agencies. Among the highlights from the records are:

  • The total cost for the Aspen ski vacation was at least $83,182.99.
  • The bill for the U.S. Secret Service, including accommodations at the Fasching Haus deluxe condominium and the Inn at Aspen, was $48,950.38.
  • The cost for the flight, per official DOD published hourly rates, was $22,583.70.  Food and miscellaneous on-flight items cost $235.44.  The cost for rental cars totaled $6,442.23.

Key details, including flight records for the Secret Service detail and the names of individuals who accompanied Mrs. Obama on the vacation, were redacted from the documents with the exception of two staffers. One was Meredith Koop, her personal assistant and style advisor, the other was her scheduler Kristen Jarvis.

As reported by the Aspen Daily News on February 18, 2012:

First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in Aspen on Friday afternoon and is here with her daughters for a ski vacation.

Few details about her trip were available. Sources said she is staying at the home of Jim and Paula Crown, owners of the Aspen Skiing Co. She is reportedly skiing at Buttermilk today, where the Crowns, of Chicago, own a home on the Tiehack side.

Several people have known about the “low-key” vacation, with the Secret Service in town for the past few days scoping out places for the family to relax and enjoy what the resort has to offer.

FoxNews.com noted that the trip was the 16th vacation in three years taken by the Obama family.  Judicial Watch first asked for the travel documents on February 21, 2012.

“No wonder we had to file a lawsuit in federal court and wait six months to get basic information on Michelle Obama’s luxury Aspen vacation,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The costs of the Obama family ski weekend are staggering. These high-priced luxury vacations, and the lack of transparency about them, are beginning to seem like an abuse of office.”

Judicial Watch previously obtained documents from the United States Air Force and the United States Secret Service detailing costs associated with Michelle Obama’s controversial August 2010 vacation to Spain. According to a Judicial Watch analysis, the records indicate a total combined cost of at least $467,585.

Judicial Watch also obtained documents detailing costs a June 21-27, 2011, trip taken by Michelle Obama, her family and her staff to South Africa and Botswana. Judicial Watch received mission expense records and passenger manifests for the Africa trip that described costs of $424,142 for the flight and crew alone. Other expenses, such as off-flight food, transportation, security, etc. were not included.

Records Also Detail Massive Pelosi-Led Bipartisan Congressional Junket to Detroit Auto Show

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Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — July 21, 2011

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from the United States Air Force (USAF) detailing then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of USAF aircraft in 2010. The records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which include flight manifests, expense summaries, copies of receipts and Congressional correspondence, detail a number of trips made by Speaker Pelosi in 2010, including:

  • A May 6-10, 2010, Congressional Delegation to Afghanistan and Germany “to discuss issues of mutual interest in Qatar and Afghanistan, as well as conduct oversight on women’s issues (troops) in Afghanistan and to visit with US troops and meet with government officials in Germany.” The total cost of military travel was $204,135.00. The records indicate then-Speaker Pelosi made a personal request that the “maximum per diem allowance be made available at the enhanced rate of an additional $50.”
  • Numerous trips were made by Speaker Pelosi between San Francisco and Andrews Air Force Base. Several of these trips included members of Speaker Pelosi’s family, including her husband, daughter, granddaughters and son-in law. For example, one “Staff Summary Sheet” detailing a January 4, 2010, flight from San Francisco to Andrews Air Force Base notes that Pelosi’s daughter Christina “owes for $99.00 (flight) and $7.82 (meal).” The documents suggest that the Speaker’s office was billed for the fees but do not indicate whether the bills were paid.
  • A January 7-11, 2010, Congressional Delegation to Detroit, Michigan, for the expressed purpose of reviewing “the impact of congressional appropriations and policy in promoting innovation, technological development and job creation in US auto industry.” The Detroit trip required $24,336.60 in commercial air travel and an additional $10,046.87 in expenses. The Pentagon also paid for military escorts for the trip.
  • One document notes that the mode of transportation for the trip would be “Comair and Milair,” (commercial air travel and military air travel). However, the only cost related to the military portion of the transportation detailed in the records is a $15,000 advance secured for ground transportation, meals and lodging. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) drove himself to Detroit and sought $228 in mileage reimbursement. A total of 24 House Members (16 Democrats, 8 Republicans), led by then-Speaker Pelosi and then-Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), were on the list of trip participants.

Overall, according to documents uncovered by Judicial Watch in January 2011, Pelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 43 trips, covering 90,155 miles, from January 1 through October 1, 2010. Judicial Watch, through FOIA, continues to pursue other records related to Pelosi’s use of Air Force aircraft.Previous documents obtained by Judicial Watch show the former Speaker’s military travel cost the USAF $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008 included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Crème, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.Judicial Watch also previously uncovered internal Department of Defense (DOD) documents email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes. For example, in response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one DOD official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi's team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”Judicial Watch also uncovered emails from the DOD that show the Pentagon worked hand-in-hand with congressional offices prior to releasing documents regarding congressional military travel under the FOIA. These “heads up” emails involved FOIA requests filed by Judicial Watch, The Wall Street JournalCongressional Quarterly and Roll Call, among other organizations, related to the use of military aircraft by a number of congressional members, including Pelosi.Following numerous press reports documenting Pelosi’s misuse of military air craft, current House Speaker John Boehner announced that he would fly commercial between his home district and Washington, DC. Nevertheless, Judicial Watch has initiated a separate investigation into travel since Republicans took control of the House.“These documents further detail former Speaker Pelosi’s shameless abuse of military air craft during her tenure as House Speaker. Providing sweetheart travel deals for her adult children are an abuse of her high public office,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “But this scandal is much larger than Speaker Pelosi, as the massive Detroit Auto Show junket shows. Members of the House are able to obtain permission from the Office of the Speaker for the use of military luxury and military-supported travel for congressional delegation trips. These trips, known as CODELs, have exploded in number and cost. Speaker Boehner needs to reform this abuse of our military’s assets. For all the recent talk about corporate luxury jets here in Washington, the American people might be surprised to learn the Air Force has an entire wing of luxury jets (in addition to President Obama’s Air Force One planes) for the use of congressmen and top administration officials.”

Documents Uncovered

Pelosi Logged 43 Flights Covering 90,155 Miles from January to October 2010; Received “Chocolate-Covered Strawberries” for Birthday Surprise

Contact Information:
Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — January 26, 2011

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from the United States Air Force detailing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s use of United States Air Force aircraft in 2010. According to the documents, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Pelosi used Air Force aircraft for 43 flights from January 1 to October 1, 2010. According to documents previously uncovered by Judicial Watch, by comparison, Nancy Pelosi logged 47 flights in the prior nine-month period, April 1, 2009, to January 1, 2010.
The most recent documents uncovered by Judicial Watch include a Passenger Mission Activity chart detailing all of former Speaker Pelosi’s flights January 1 to October 1, 2010, as well as detailed shopping lists for some flights, flight authorization forms, Mission Expense Records and internal Air Force correspondence related to the flights. Among the highlights from the documents, obtained pursuant to a FOIA request filed on September 10, 2010:

  • Pelosi used the Air Force aircraft for a total of 43 trips, covering 90,155 miles, from January 1 through October 1, 2010. The Air Force documented in-flight expenses for 22 of these flights totaling $1,821.33. The Air Force did not provide expense information for the remaining 21 flights.
  • Former Speaker Pelosi received chocolate covered strawberries as a birthday surprise on a March 26, 2010 flight. According to one internal Air Force email sent on March 25, 2010: “The speaker’s office is requesting egg salad sandwiches on wheat toast with fruit (watermelon, etc) for desert [sic]. It’s the speaker’s B-Day tomorrow so we’re also asking for something like chocolate covered strawberries (dark chocolate preferred)…” The immediate response to the email from another member of the Air Force staff: “Copy all. We’ll plan something for the birthday and take care of the meal.”

According to previous documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the former Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over one two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol. For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC, through Tel Aviv, Israel to Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008, included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Baileys Irish Cream, Maker’s Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.Judicial Watch also previously uncovered internal Department of Defense (DOD) email correspondence detailing attempts by DOD staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft as well as the speaker’s last minute cancellations and changes. For example, in response to a series of requests for military aircraft, one DOD official wrote, “Any chance of politely querying [Pelosi's team] if they really intend to do all of these or are they just picking every weekend?…[T]here’s no need to block every weekend ‘just in case’…” The email also notes that Pelosi’s office had, “a history of canceling many of their past requests.”Judicial Watch also uncovered emails from the DOD that show the Pentagon worked hand-in-hand with congressional offices prior to releasing documents regarding congressional military travel under the FOIA. These “heads up” emails involved FOIA requests filed by Judicial Watch, The Wall Street JournalCongressional Quarterly, and Roll Call, among other organizations, related to the use of military aircraft by a number of congressional members, including Pelosi.“Despite the media firestorm over her military travel abuses, Nancy Pelosi continued to use the United States Air Force as her own personal travel agency right up until her final days as House Speaker,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Nancy Pelosi demonstrated an alarming disregard for the men and women in the U.S. Air Force during her tenure as House Speaker. We are pleased that Speaker Boehner will not follow Pelosi’s corrupt example and will instead fly commercial. But this scandal is not only about travel by the Speaker of the House. Through the Speaker’s office, other members of the House are able to obtain permission for the use of military luxury travel for congressional delegation trips abroad. These trips, known as CODELs, have exploded in number and cost. Speaker Boehner needs to reform this abuse of our military’s assets. This is the right thing to do for the U.S. Air Force and for the American taxpayer.”

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