Obama’s ‘Kingly’ Vacation Expenses Spark Lawsuit For Abusing Taxpayer Money
As more and more Americans are forced to take two and sometimes three part-time jobs to put together a living wage, and paid two-week vacations are a thing of the past, the frequent and extravagant holidays of President Obama and his family invite perhaps a little envy, but certainly scrutiny from the people who foot the bill.
Democrats are quick to defend the President’s vacation and golf getaways with straw man arguments, asking rhetorically whether critics are suggesting that the man with arguably the most stressful job in the world doesn’t “deserve” a break, and making false comparisons to President George W. Bush’s tradition of spending August at his own ranch in Crawford, Texas while conducting government business from there.
President Obama does not vacation in Chicago, where he and the First Family lived before he became president, but prefer to spend Christmas in Hawaii where he spent his high school years, and summer vacations in posh Martha’s Vineyard where they enjoyed a 17-day stay at a $22.5 million home with six bedrooms and five baths.
Now, after repeated requests for information filed pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch sued the Department of Homeland Security requesting a federal judge to order the department to comply and produce the information about the president’s travel costs.
Judicial Watch, the conservative watchdog group that has also filed suit against the president for his immigration policies, argues that the president is taking advantage of the taxpayers by amassing a bill for travel costs in excess of $74 million over the past seven years he has been in office.
“Now that we’ve sued, the Secret Service has stopped ignoring our requests for details on more of the costs of Barack Obama’s luxury vacations,” Fitton said. “Taxpayers, the U.S. Air Force, and the Secret Service are being abused by Barack Obama, who too often treats Air Force One and his security detail like some sort of kingly entourage.”
Presidential vacations require extensive preparations to plan security and food and lodging for the Secret Service for the duration of the executive’s vacation at any location.
The Homeland Security response to the FOIA request revealed nearly a quarter-million dollars ($1,243,057.80) for Secret Service accommodations on the Obama’s summer and Christmas vacations.
Local media reported that the Honolulu Police Department had $341,000 in overtime costs to provide additional security.
The real costs, however, include travel on Air Force One at $228,288 per flying hour, according to the Department of the Air Force, which are substantially increased if the presidential limousine is also flown to the destination.
Judicial Watch obtained U.S. Air Force records showing $3,671,798 in flight expenses for the Obama family’s travel to Hawaii for Christmas 2014, and another $400,666.30 for the 2014 flight to Martha’s Vineyard, in Massachusetts for their summer vacation, bringing the total for air travel alone to over $4 million dollars for just 2014.
The president also travels without the family on “business,” such as his trip to California in August 2013 to have dinner with major donor, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, before the 2014 campaign, and to appear on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
The total cost for flight expenditures on that trip was $2,145,907.20.
Trips taken by the First Lady with the two Obama daughters and Mrs. Marian Shields, the First Lady’s mother who lives at the White House, also require the use of Air Force One, and Secret Service protection, in addition to food, lodging, on-the-ground transportation, and other costs of vacationing.
So far, the total cost to taxpayers for the Obama’s holidays amounts to over $70 million according to Judicial Watch’s findings.