Judicial Watch: President Obama’s 2015 Golf and Family Vacation Trips Cost Taxpayers $3,115,688.70 in Travel Expenses Alone
NOVEMBER 17, 2015
Fifth Palm Springs visit in two years included golf at plush, private 249-acre Porcupine Creek Estate owned by Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that Barack Obama and family had a busy 2015 vacationing on the American taxpayers’ dime. The unnecessary travel included an Obama Palm Springs golf trip in June, a trip to New York City in July and a family trip to Martha’s Vineyard in August – all of which cost taxpayers $3,115,688.70 in travel expenses alone. The documents regarding the Obama travel expenses came in response to three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the first filed on June 30, 2015, the second on July 23, 2015, and the third August 24, 2015.
According to the newly released records obtained by Judicial Watch:
- Obama’s June 20, 2015, golf outing to Palm Springs required 10.6 hours of flying time at $206,337 per hour, costing taxpayers $2,187,172.20.
- Obama’s July 18, 2015, trip to New York City with his daughters required 1.5 hours of flying time at $206,337 per hour, costing taxpayers $309,505.50.
- Obama’s August 7, 2015, family trip to Martha’s Vineyard required 3 hours of flying time at $206,337 per hour, costing taxpayers $619,011.
In Palm Springs, Obama played golf at the plush, private golf course of Oracle billionaire Lawrence Joseph “Larry” Ellison. The golf course is located on Ellison’s 249-acre Porcupine Creek estate, which features a golf club and course, a huge 18,400 square-foot main residence, eight guest houses, a pool, spa, gym and an amphitheater. It was Obama’s fifth golf outing to Palm Springs in the past two years. The West Coast trip reportedly included political fundraising and one speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
A month later, Obama flew to New York City to spend Saturday, July 18, “hanging out with his girls,” as WABC-NY reported. The “girls” included Obama’s two daughters and several of their friends, flown to New York aboard Air Force One. While in New York, Obama and company took in the hip-hop Broadway musical “Hamilton.” After that one-day trip to New York, Obama flew back to New York three days later to appear with Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” and to speak at a Democratic fundraiser. It was Obama’s seventh appearance on “The Daily Show.”
Obama’s New York City outing, which coincided with the killing of four U.S. Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, drew criticism from some because of his failure to order the lowering of the American flag at the White House or other federal government installations in response to the deadly assault. Obama did not order the flag flown at half-mast until three days later, after intense pressure had mounted nationwide.
In August, while at Martha’s Vineyard, Obama spent much of his vacation playing golf on the island’s plush golf courses. His partners included former President Bill Clinton, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, notorious Democratic adviser Vernon Jordan, as well as former NBA player Alonzo Mourning and the father-son basketball team of Dell Curry and Stephen Curry.
The Obamas stayed at the same vacation property they have rented in the past, the Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, on the western part of the island. The main house on the sprawling estate has seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms, according to the Martha’s Vineyard Times. The 8,100-square-foot house sits on a 10-acre lot and features a total of 17 rooms, some of which offer sweeping views of Vineyard Sound. There’s also an infinity pool, hot tub and a dual tennis-basketball court, and a par-three golf course. The estate rents for $50,000 a week.
The Secret Service has not yet provided requested information on these trips, as required by FOIA, regarding security costs.
To date, the total known expenses for travel by the Obamas and Bidens are currently $70,563,336.75.
“President Obama evidently cares not one whit about the costs to beleaguered taxpayers for his personal and political travel,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Why would any public servant think it appropriate to use an Air Force plane (and an army of law enforcement) to take his daughters sightseeing in New York? Barack Obama is enamored with the presidency’s trappings of power and taxpayers are left holding the tab.”