Friday, July 15, 2016

Judicial Watch: Obama Travel Cost Taxpayers over $79.5 million

Judicial Watch obtained records from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealing the Obama family’s August 2015 vacation on Martha’s Vineyard cost taxpayers $465,420.49 in Secret Service expenses alone. This included $457,310.33 in hotels, $271.56 in car rentals, and $7,838.60 in air/rail travel.
The government doesn’t share this willingly. The records were obtained through our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on November 24, 2015. Judicial Watch sued the Department of Homeland Security, of which the Secret Service is a part, because it failed to respond to 19 FOIA requests from Judicial Watch since July 21, 2014, ( Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:15-cv-01983)).
The new records reveal that Secret Service expenses for presidential travel included:
  • Trip to Seattle and Los Angeles July 2014:$237,731.05 on hotels, $19,888.70 on rental cars and $1,451.40 on air/rail travel – for a total of $259,071.15. This trip was solely for fund-raising, specifically to boost the treasuries of two “super pacs” for congressional candidates in the mid-term election. Judicial Watch previously reported that Air Force transportation expenses for this trip cost taxpayers $2,425,085.50 – bringing the grand total to $2,684,156.60.
  • Trip to Westchester, NY, and Providence, RI,  August 29-September 1, 2014: $63,177 on hotels and $1,801.45 on rental cars – for a total of $64,978.45.This trip was for fundraising and attending the wedding of an MSNBC host. Judicial Watch previously reported that Air Force transportation for this trip cost $1,539,402.10 – bringing the grand total to $1,604,380.50.
  • Trip to  Martha’s Vineyard, August 2015: $457,310.33 on hotels, $271.56 in car rentals, and $7,838.60 on air/rail travel – bringing the grand total to $465,420.49. This was the sixth year for the Obama familysummer getaway to Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Trip to Palm Springs,  February 2015:$149,101.36 on hotels and $9,199.38 on car rentals – for a total of $158,300.74. This trip was reportedly to meet with leaders from 10 Southeast Asian nations to discuss North Korea, China and trade. But, the president also played golf, held several Democratic fundraisers, and filmed an episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Judicial Watch previously reported that Air Force travel expenses for the President totaled $1,031,685 – bringing the grand total to $1,189,985.70
  • Trip to  New York CityJuly 17-20, 2015: $266,186.04 on hotels and $1,112.31 on car rentals – for a total of $267,298.35. This outing was a weekend getaway for the president, his daughters and some of their friends. The president also attended a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Manhattan. Judicial Watch previously reported that Air Force travel expenses for the President on this trip totaled $309,505.50 – for a grand total of $576,803.85.
  • Trip to  Los Angeles, October 2014: $140,640.94 on hotels and $3,118 on car rentals – for a total of $143,758.94. On this trip, the president designated a portion of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument. He also attended a Democratic National Committee fundraiser. Judicial Watch previously reportedthat the President’s Air Force travel expenses totaled $1,176,120.90 – for a grand total of $1,319,879.80.
  • Trip to Los Angeles, June 18-21, 2015:$311,922.11 on hotels and $21,269.71 on rental cars. This trip was for a speaking engagement with the U.S. Conference of Mayors and for Democratic National Committee fundraisers in private residences in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills – for a grant total of $333,191.82.
The First Family’s Martha’s Vineyard vacation, their sixth in the past seven years, was spent at the lavish Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, a seven-bedroom, nine-bath, 8,100-square-foot estate, sitting on 10 acres of farmland. The estate features 17 rooms, expansive water views of Vineyard Sound, an infinity pool, and a tennis-basketball court. It rents for $50,000 a week. Judicial Watch previously reported that the First Family’s travel aboard Air Force One for this trip cost taxpayers $619,011.
The current grand total of known Obama travel-related expenses now stands at $79,630,433.93
Taxpayers should be incensed that the Secret Service’s resources are wasted to provide security for endless golf excursions, political fundraisers, and luxury vacations. President Obama’s travel is a scandal.  You can count on Judicial Watch to continue to expose this abuse of the office and of your hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

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