Obama, Biden Presidents’ Day Weekend Vacations Cost Taxpayers $295,437 According to Records Obtained by Judicial Watch
New documents reveal Michelle Obama and daughters spent more than $1,000,000 on 2011 six-day trip to Africa, including a private family safari.
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained U.S. Secret Service records from the Department of Homeland Security detailing expenditures of $295,437.04 by President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden during separate luxury vacations over the 2013 Presidents’ Day Weekend. A separate group of documents show that taxpayers paid more the $1,000,000 for Michelle Obama’s controversial 2011 trip to South Africa and Botswana.
President Obama spent the Presidents’ Day Weekend (February 15-18) on a golf trip in West Palm Beach, Florida. First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters spent the same holiday weekend on a ski trip in Aspen, Colorado. Vice President Biden and his family spent that weekend skiing in Aspen.
Judicial Watch obtained the vacation documents pursuant to a June 21, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Secret Service. According to the billing records:
- Transportation and lodging costs for the President’s trip totaled $98, 135.79. This includes $32,406.50 for the flights, $16,466.25 for rental cars, and $48,490 for hotel rooms.
- The vacation costs for First Lady Michelle Obama totaled $81,523.64, including $13,221.30 in flights, $3,925 in rental cars, and $64,377.34 in lodging.
- The expenses for Vice President Biden’s weekend in Aspen totaled $115,777.61, including $5,315 in flights, $92,596 in accommodations, and $17,866.61 in rental cars.
On October 4, 2011, Judicial Watch obtained documents pertaining to the full costs of the June 21-27, 2011 trip taken by Michelle Obama, her family, and her staff to South Africa and Botswana. According to the records obtained from the United States Air Force through a FOIA lawsuit, during the six-day trip, the First Lady and her entourage spent $668.702.01, including hotel and lodging costs of $430,614.18. The trip ended with a private family safari at a South African game reserve. The $668,702.01 was in addition to the $424,142 taxpayers were billed for the cost of the flight and crew alone, according to earlier documents obtained by Judicial Watch.
“The Obamas and Vice President Biden are oblivious to the costs to taxpayers for their vacation travel,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And the stonewalling over releasing these travel numbers suggests that the Obama administration is embarrassed by the personal travel of President Obama and Vice President Biden.”
In a scathing article not commonly seen in the notoriously pro Obama mainstream media, a major newspaper reports that access to the White House is directly connected to the amount of cash donated to the president’s reelection campaign and the Democratic Party.
In other words the so-called people’s house is for sale to the highest bidder, which is more often than not a special interest. By reviewing campaign donations and White House visitor logs, New York Times reporters discovered that those who donated the most to the president and the Democratic Party were far more likely to visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue than others.
Among donors who gave $30,000 or less, about 20% visited the White House, according to the paper’s analysis that matched names in the visitor logs with donor records. The White House visitor figure increases sharply to 75% for those who donated $100,000 or more. Additionally, about two-thirds of Obama’s top 2008 campaign fundraisers visited the White House at least once. Some made multiple trips.
Some of the donors had no previous record of giving to Obama or Democrats or of making such large contributions. That makes their hefty gifts, sometimes given in close proximity to White House meetings, all the more suspicious. The story puts it mildly, suggesting it raises questions about whether they came with expectations of access or were expressions of gratitude.
The lengthy piece offers a multitude of examples, but the most damaging information comes from a former congressman of famous political pedigree. Patrick Kennedy, the former congressman from Rhode Island and son of the late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy, actually describes the unscrupulous Obama White House arrangement as “quid pro quo,” which means something for something in Latin.
Patrick Kennedy donated $35,000 to an Obama reelection fund last fall as he pursued administration support of a charity that will supposedly help develop new treatments for brain disorders. Kennedy said his campaign contributions are simply a part of “how this business works.” His generosity landed him several White House visits to pitch support for his nonprofit.
Remember how Obama promised not to accept contributions from registered lobbyists? The review of campaign donations and White House visitor logs shows that the president’s biggest donors brought lobbyists with them for personal visits. That means special interests found a covert way to access the commander-in-chief as he assured the nation it would not happen.