Judicial Watch Obtains Records Revealing Obama’s February, March 2015 Golf Vacations and Fundraisers Cost Taxpayers $4,436,245.50 in Travel Expenses Alone
OCTOBER 15, 2015
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that Barack Obama’s February and March 2015 travel for golf vacations and fundraisers totaled $4,436,245.50 in taxpayer-funded transportation expenses. The documents regarding the Obama travel expenses came in response to two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by Judicial Watch.
To date, the Secret Service has not provided requested information, as required by FOIA, regarding security costs.
Using the Air Force’s official cost estimate of $206,337 per hour, the newly released records obtained by Judicial Watch show:
- Obama’s February 14, 2015, golf outing to Palm Springs required a five-hour flight, costing taxpayers a total of $1,031,685.
- Transportation for Obama’s February 19 day trip to Chicago cost taxpayers $619,011.00.
- Transportation for Obama’s March 2015 fundraising trip to Los Angeles cost taxpayers $1,980,835.20.
- Obama’s March 28, 2015, golf outing to Palm City required a 3.9-hour flight, costing taxpayers $804,870.30.
In Palm Springs, Obama played golf at the luxurious Sunnylands country club, located on the former estate of the late ambassadors Walter and Leonore Annenberg. Obama reportedly spent the weekend on the exclusive, gated property, where he has twice stayed before.
Obama’s February trip to Chicago was billed by the White House as a non-political event to declare the Pullman Historic District a national monument. But, press reports indicated that the trip was heavily political. In a CNN story entitled, “Obama gives Emanuel re-election boost:”
President Barack Obama went to Chicago bearing gifts Thursday for his former chief of staff, Mayor Rahm Emanuel … But the day had all the trappings of a campaign – and Obama even made an unannounced stop at a Kenwood campaign office for Emanuel on his way out of town. “I’m glad he’s my mayor, and I’m glad he’s going to be my mayor for another four years,” Obama told volunteers.
Obama’s travel to California was solely to raise money for the Democratic National Committee and to show his support for fellow Democrats nationwide. His visit to Los Angeles began with an appearance on ABC’s late night comedy program “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” and continued on to include a “roundtable discussion” fundraiser hosted at the Santa Monica home of ICM Partners cofounder Chris Silbermann and his wife Julia Franz. Guests paid up to $33,400 per couple for attendance, donations that will be used to aid DNC activities during the approaching 2016 election cycle. Obama’s March 12 fundraising trip to Los Angeles was his 32nd fundraiser in L.A. County since he became president.
In Palm City, Obama played golf at the “spectacular” Floridian National Golf Club, where members pay a $50,000 initiation fee and $15,000 in annual dues. According to the resort’s website, “This stunning, yet formidable par 71 will certainly impress. At 7,114 yards, the 18-hole course offers perfectly manicured rolling fairways and greens, demanding hazards, breathtaking views of the St. Lucie River, and is surrounded by natural preserve and native wildlife.”
“Taxpayers should be outraged that Barack Obama’s wastes 4.4 million of their precious tax dollars on golf vacations and political fundraising,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And to make matters worse, the Secret Service has simply refused to respond to our requests for documents about the security costs of these controversial trips. The Obama travel scandal is about abuse of office, abuse of the taxpayer, and contempt for the rule of law.”
Records released earlier this year by Judicial Watch showed that Michelle Obama’s 2014 trip to China cost more than $360,000 in air transportation costs. Judicial Watch uncovered an expensive combination of trips by the Obamas to Africa and Honolulu, which cost taxpayers $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses. The single largest prior known expense for accommodations was for Michelle Obama’s side-trip to Dublin, Ireland, during the 2013 G-8 conference in Belfast, when she and her entourage booked 30 rooms at the five-star Shelbourne Hotel, with the first lady staying in the 1500 square-foot Princess Grace suite at a cost of $3,500 a night. The total cost to taxpayers for the Obamas’ Ireland trip was $7,921,638.66. To date, the known travel expenses of the Obamas and Vice President Joe Biden exceed $61million.
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