Judicial Watch • Michelle Obama’s August 2010 Vacation in Spain Cost American Taxpayers $467,585 According to Records Obtained by Judicial Watch

Michelle Obama’s August 2010 Vacation in Spain Cost American Taxpayers $467,585 According to Records Obtained by Judicial Watch

Michelle Obama’s August 2010 Vacation in Spain Cost American Taxpayers $467,585 According to Records Obtained by Judicial Watch

APRIL 26, 2012

Judicial Watch Lawsuit Forces Release of Vacation Records

 (Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it 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 obtained the Secret Service records pursuant to an August 2010 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  (The agency notified Judicial Watch that it withheld 78 pages of responsive records in their entirety.) Judicial Watch obtained the U.S. Air Force records pursuant to a March 5, 2012, FOIA lawsuit.

If you would like to receive weekly emails updating you about all of our efforts to fight corruption, please sign up here.
* Email
* State:

The following are highlights from the U.S. Air Force records, which indicate a total cost of $213,124.15:

  • According to U.S. Department of Defense’s 2010 published hourly rates, the total cost of flying Michelle Obama and her guests from Camp Andrews to Malaga and then to Mallorca and back to the United States was $199,323.75. This is based on approximately 17 hours and 15 minutes of total flying time.
  • The 15-member flight crew stayed at Tryp Guadalmar, a nearby motel. Lodging cost was $10,290.60 and car rental cost was $2,633.50. Food cost was $876.30, including $57.68 for four bottles of maple syrup and a package of pancake mix.

The U.S. Air Force concealed the number of civilian passengers who accompanied Mrs. Obama on the five-day trip, citing an exemption to FOIA law. (The New York Times previously reported that Mrs. Obama brought along one of her daughters and “two friends and four of their daughters, as well as a couple of aides and a couple of advance staff members.”)

Secret Service records, meanwhile, show that the costs to the agency for the vacation were $254,461.20. This total includes $26,670.61 for a chauffeur tour of Costa del Sol and $50,078.78 for a travel planning company SET P&V, S.L. (George Soros is 50% owner of the travel company.) Taxpayers also paid the bill for separate lodging for a dog and its handler.

In August 2010, Michelle Obama, her daughter and friends embarked on what the press described as a “whirlwind tour of Spain,” which included visits to the coastal towns, shopping and a lunch date with the country’s King and Queen.  While the White House claims the Obamas “paid their own way” for the vacation, the records detail some of the required security and other costs to taxpayers for the private trip.

“The American people can ill afford to keep sending the First Family on vacations around the globe,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “There needs to be greater sensitivity to the costs borne by taxpayers for these personal trips. It is hypocritical for President Obama to fire GSA officials for wasteful conference spending, while his family went on a luxury vacation in the Costa del Sol Spain that cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars. No wonder it took two years and a lawsuit to get these documents out of the Obama administration.”

Judicial Watch previously obtained documents detailing costs for 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.

Sign Up for Updates!


  • myra

    this is so DISGUSTING to me . my soc. sec. check is about the same as the person’s below..and I have NOT HAD a vacation since 2000 !!

    I am so proud to say I Did NOT VOTE for this jerk either time !! he is a crook !!

  • Yowlsom

    That’s outragious. I live on a monthly $633.00 soc sec check. It would take me 61 1/2 years to get that kind of money if I saved all of it!

  • amanda2too

    So this is a wasteful use of taxpayer money. It would have been more helpful if during this article they had compared the Obama’s expenses to the Bush’s expenses, seeing as how he went on vacation more than any other sitting president.

    I’m also curious to find out exactly how they would like the First Family to go on vacation. Should they have sat in coach on an American Airlines flight? Would that have fit people’s sensibilities better? Of course, every single person on that plane, crew and passenger both, would have had to have been vetted by the Secret Service. Wonder how many man hours at how many hours total that would have cost.

    Should the Obamas have traveled without their protective security? What’s the point of having it if you don’t bring it? Perhaps it’s okay for them to have brought the security, but they should have paid their lodging and salaries out of the money President Obama receives for his services, all $400,000. C’mon people. CEOs of corporations get company cars and other perks. Yes, this was paid for by tax payers money, but so was every war, every police man, and every public school. Our taxes pay for a lot of stuff. If you want to say that taxpayers should never pay for anything that could directly affect the first family, then you are right – Romney should win the next election. Because only multimillionaires will be able to afford the lavish parties, dinners and vactions to other countries (where they visit heads of state) that are expected of the President of the United States.

  • fbanta

    There is one trip that the American people will gladly cover and that is for the Obama family to relocate to Chicago in January 2013. We won’t miss the extravigances of outlandish parties, imperial attitudes, reckless spending, or their general ignorance regarding American history, government and business economics. We won’t miss suffocating regulations; abuse of those that disagree with Obama’s radical agenda, nor the waivers to his supporters for his oppressive policies. We won’t miss multi-thousand page legislation that ‘we have to pass to find out what’s in it'; and we won’t miss radical union leaders having more access to the president than his own Cabinet officers.

  • mcc1231

    I’d just like to know if you’ve all gone to the trouble to dissect the amount each vacation has cost the taxpayers for EVERY former president and their families, or is it just for the current First family?
    I’m sure just as much, if not more, has been spent by each and every First Family that has ever been in the White House. Should we also calculate how much each FORMER president and first family cost the taxpayers in “protecting” them when they’ve left office? I mean, SERIOUSLY? Why should they continue to have Secret Service protection for their families, etc. after they’re no longer in the White House?.