Judicial Watch Obtains Documents: Secret Service Tab for Obama Family 2013 Africa Trip Cost Taxpayers $2,189,727.60 for Lodging, Entertainment, and Security
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on May 13, 2014, it obtained lodging and entertainment expense records from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealing that the Secret Service entourage accompanying President Obama and his family during their trip to sub-Saharan Africa from June 27 to July 3, 2013, incurred $2,189,727.60 in lodging, entertainment, and security expenses. The records came in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed on July 3, 2013, with the U.S. Secret Service.
According to the Department of Homeland Security documents:
- Secret Service hotel accommodations for the seven-day excursion cost $953,788.18
- Though the Obama family Tanzania safari was canceled shortly before the Obama’s departure for Africa, Secret Service preparations for the safari still totaled $11,525.75
From June 27 to July 3, 2013, the Obamas visited three countries in Africa – Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. According to reports in the Washington Post in the days leading up to the trip, “One hundred [Secret Service] agents are needed as ‘post-standers’ — to man security checkpoints and borders around the president — in each of the first three cities he visits. Sixty-five are needed to meet up with Obama in Dar es Salaam. . . In addition, 80 to 100 additional agents will be flown in to work rotating shifts, with round-the-clock coverage, for Obama’s and his family’s security details. . .”
In March 2014, Judicial Watch released flight expense records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that the Obama family also incurred flight expenses of $8,104,224 for flights to, from, and around Africa during the June-July 2013 trip. The trip totaled 35.5 hours at $228,288 an hour. The records came in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. According to numerous press accounts, the total cost of the Obama family trip was estimated to have cost between $60 million and $100 million.
“The Obamas clearly either do not understand the value of a dollar – or understand it all too well when someone else is picking up the tab,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Keep in mind that this outrageously lavish excursion came at the very same time that the president was shutting down White House tours and blaming it on the sequester. As one congressional critic noted at the time, the White House could have 1,350 weeks of tours for the cost of the Obama family’s trip to Africa.”