Judicial Watch: Obama Family’s 2014 Christmas Vacation in Hawaii Cost Taxpayers $3,672,798 in Transportation Expenses
MARCH 10, 2015
Martha’s Vineyard August, 2014 Vacation Cost $400,666.30 in Transportation
$2,425,085.50 were Spent in Transportation Expenses for Obama’s July, 2014 West Coast Fundraising Trip
Obama Hawaii Christmas vacations over the past three years have cost taxpayers $15,540,515.10 in travel expenses alone
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that the Obama family’s 2014 Christmas vacation to Honolulu, Hawaii, cost taxpayers $3,672,798 in flight expenses alone. Christmas in Hawaii is an annual tradition for the family and their most recent visit, from December 19, 2014, to January 4, 2015, marked their seventh Hawaiian vacation. The documents came from the Department of the Air Force in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on January 5, 2015. Costs for the trip to Hawaii, to the West Coast, and to Martha’s Vineyard last year, cost nearly $3 million alone in transportation.
According to the documents, the Obama’s spent 17.8 hours in the air round-trip at $206,337.00 per hour, bringing the total cost to taxpayers to $3,672,798.60.
According to other figures obtained by Judicial Watch over the past three years, Obama Hawaii Christmas vacations have cost taxpayers $15,540,515.10 in transportation expenses alone. This includes outbound and return flight expenses in 2012 totaling $4,086,355.20. (The Secret Service provided documents for Obama’s Christmas 2012 trip to Honolulu. The grand total is $654,599.40 including $409,225.78 in hotels.) Flight expenses for the Obamas’ 2013 Christmas vacations to Hawaii cost taxpayers $7,781,361.30.
The Christmas 2014 flight cost $3,672,798.60. The average American family of four spent $4,580 on Christmas in 2014.
For their Christmas 2014 vacation, the Obama family rented the same plush oceanfront estate they’ve used for the past several years in the wealthy neighborhood of Kailua, located near Honolulu on the island of Oahu. According to the London Telegraph, the four-member Obama family spent its extended two-week vacation at a palatial mansion with: “13 bedrooms, a prime location on Kailua beach and all the mod cons that the First Family could ask for … Beyond the lawn lies the famous beach, up which the waves roll majestically, 24 hours a day.”
Judicial Watch also obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing the flight cost for Obama’s July 2014 fundraising expedition to Seattle, Washington, and San Francisco and Los Angeles, California, and the flight cost for the Obama Family’s August 2014 vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, came to a total of $2,825,751.80 in taxpayer-paid transportation expenses. The documents regarding the fundraising and vacation expenses came in response to two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed on July 28, 2014 and August 25, 2014, respectively:
- Transportation for Obama’s July 2014 fundraising trip to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles cost taxpayers $2,425,085.50
- Transportation for Obama family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard in August 2014 cost taxpayers $400,666.30
On July 22, Obama kicked off a three-day fundraising tour in Seattle to raise money for the Democratic National Committee and support his fellow Democrats nationwide. His visit to Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angles encompassed at least five fundraisers, including one at the house of Shonda Rhimes, producer of the hit ABC series “Scandal,” where guests paid up to $32,400 for attendance. Shortly afterwards, the Obama Family left in Air Force One for a two-week vacation in Martha’s Vineyard from August 9-23.
Obama received heavy criticism for moving forward with the West Coast fundraisers in July and the August vacation due to numerous major international crises at the time: escalated fighting in Gaza and the surge of illegal aliens over the U.S. border. Only a week before heading west, Obama also drew fire for attending fundraisers in New York immediately after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine. There was, however, one section of his west coast trip Obama’s advisors deemed wise to cut out – an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s comedy TV-show.
Obama’s fundraising trips were also deemed inappropriate by some because of the heavy burden they place on American taxpayers forced to foot the majority of the bill for explicitly Democratic fundraisers. According to campaign finance laws, the DNC only has to pay the equivalent of a commercial airline ticket to fly Obama, while taxpayers must pay for the lion’s share of Air Force One’s operating cost.
According to the Washington Examiner, “the first family has racked up 38 holidays, working vacations, and fun trips like a date night in New York. They are on par to take at least 45 holidays before leaving office.”
“The Obamas’ travel is out of control. They are treating the Air Force One like an Uber ride. Our military deserves better. The Secret Service is stretched to the breaking point by President’s Obama’s abusive travel,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And President Obama seems oblivious to the burden he is placing on Americans with his continuous vacations, getaways, and political junkets at taxpayer expense.”