Custom Search

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Michelle Obama's 2010 Spain Vacation Cost American Taxpayers $467,585

By Susan Duclos

Judicial Watch has finally obtained the records detailing the cost to American taxpayers for Michelle Obama's August 2010 Spain vacation.

Judicial Watch obtained the Secret Service records pursuant to an August 2010 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.  (The agency notified Judicial Watch that it withheld 78 pages of responsive records in their entirety.) Judicial Watch obtained the U.S. Air Force records pursuant to a March 5, 2012, FOIA lawsuit.

The following are highlights from the U.S. Air Force records, which indicate a total cost of $213,124.15:
  • According to U.S. Department of Defense’s 2010 published hourly rates, the total cost of flying Michelle Obama and her guests from Camp Andrews to Malaga and then to Mallorca and back to the United States was $199,323.75. This is based on approximately 17 hours and 15 minutes of total flying time.
  • The 15-member flight crew stayed at Tryp Guadalmar, a nearby motel. Lodging cost was $10,290.60 and car rental cost was $2,633.50. Food cost was $876.30, including $57.68 for four bottles of maple syrup and a package of pancake mix.
The U.S. Air Force concealed the number of civilian passengers who accompanied Mrs. Obama on the five-day trip, citing an exemption to FOIA law. (The New York Times previously reported that Mrs. Obama brought along one of her daughters and “two friends and four of their daughters, as well as a couple of aides and a couple of advance staff members.”)
Secret Service records, meanwhile, show that the costs to the agency for the vacation were $254,461.20. This total includes $26,670.61 for a chauffeur tour of Costa del Sol and $50,078.78 for a travel planning company SET P&V, S.L. (George Soros is 50% owner of the travel company.) Taxpayers also paid the bill for separate lodging for a dog and its handler.
In August 2010, Michelle Obama, her daughter and friends embarked on what the press described as a “whirlwind tour of Spain,” which included visits to the coastal towns, shopping and a lunch date with the country’s King and Queen.  While the White House claims the Obamas “paid their own way” for the vacation, the records detail some of the required security and other costs to taxpayers for the private trip.

Remember that South Africa trip where the Obama children were listed as "senior staff" on the flight manifest? Well Judicial Watch has received the totals for that trip as well.

Judicial Watch previously obtained documents detailing costs for a June 21-27, 2011, trip taken by Michelle Obama, her family and her staff to South Africa and Botswana. Judicial Watch received mission expense records and passenger manifests for the Africa trip that described costs of $424,142 for the flight and crew alone. Other expenses, such as off-flight food, transportation, security, etc. were not included.

These can be added to the total cost to the American taxpayer along with the Obama family's $4 million Hawaii Christmas vacation, Michelle's Aspen ski vacation a few weeks later and the other "official" vacations for Obama, and/or his family.

Reminder on the earlier piece where the lines are blurring on how Obama is using taxpayer money to fund his recent reelection campaign trips and claiming they are "presidential" business.