--- $2.9 million alone for two Obama 2014 golf outings
couple grifters in Florida in March. AP Photo
The travel costs for vacations taken by the first family and the Bidens have reached over $40 million with the Air Force's revelation that two golf outings by President Obama this year cost $2.9 million, according to the taxpayer watchdog group Judicial Watch.
The group said that the Air Force provided documents and records that put the price of the first family's trip to Key Largo, Fla., in March at $885,683 just for flying Air Force One. The travel costs to golf in Palm Springs, Calif., in February, where the president also met with King Abdullah II of Jordan, was $2,066,594, said the Air Force documents, according to Judicial Watch.
Judicial Watch has been filing repeated Freedom of Information Act requests for travel costs and the Air Force has provided many documents during the administration.
So far, Judicial Watch said that it has tabulated vacation travel costs, mostly just Air Force jet time, at over $40 million. Far more money is spent on accommodations, communications, rooms and cars for staff, security and U.S. Secret Service protection, Navy and Coast Guard ships offshore and the prepositioning of cars and helicopters, but those costs are not usually revealed.
“It is clear that the Obamas continually abuse the perks of the president’s office at taxpayer expense,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement to Secrets. “And it is particularly interesting that Obama has chosen to take not one but two luxury vacations back-to-back while inveighing against ‘income equality.’ President Obama’s waste of the hard-earned tax dollars of working Americans on unnecessary luxury travel is an abuse of office.”
Editor's note: Judicial Watch is representing the Washington Examiner in the newspaper's federal lawsuit seeking access to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau records under FOIA.
Below is the full release provided by Judicial Watch:
Judicial Watch Obtains Records Revealing Obama’s 2014 Palm Springs and Key Largo Golf Outings Cost Taxpayers $2,952,278 for Flight Expenses Alone
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today, it has obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that President Obama’s February 2014 Palm Springs, California, and March 2014 Key Largo, Florida, golf outings cost the taxpayers $2,952,278 for flight expenses alone.
According to the Department of Air Force documents, the flights to and from, Palm Springs for the February 17 – 20, 2014 trip totaled 9.8 hours at $210,877 an hour, which comes to a total of $2,066,594.60 in flight expenses. The records came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of request filed on February 18, 2014.
Also according to the Department of Air Force documents, the total cost for flights to and from Key Largo, Florida for the March 7 - 9 trip totaled 4.2 hours at $210,877, which comes to a total of $885,683.40 for flight in expenses. The records came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act request filed on March 10, 2014.
Though the administration billed the President’s Day weekend trip to California as an effort to highlight the state’s severe water drought, the White House official schedule showed the president spent just four hours at three drought-related events on the afternoon of Friday, February 14. He then spent much of the next three days playing golf at some of Coachella Valley, California’s, most exclusive golf courses, which, according to Fox News, “consume roughly 17 percent of all water there, and one quarter of the water pumped out of the region’s at-risk groundwater aquifer.” Each course uses nearly 1 million gallons of water a day.
During March 7 – 9, the First Family spent Spring Break at Key Largo, Florida’s, exclusive Ocean Reef Club, where members must have a minimum net worth of $35 million to join. According to its website, “the Club boasts two championship 18-hole courses, a rarity in the Florida Keys … a salon and spa, more than a dozen restaurants, a 175-slip marina, a private airport, and so much more.” The costly Spring Break vacation took place on the heels of Obama’s State of the Union Address in which he focused on income inequality.
According to records obtained by Judicial Watch, through FOIA requests and subsequent lawsuits, the Obamas and Bidens have spent more than $40 million taxpayer dollars on trips since 2009, beginning with the Obamas' much-publicized New York City "date night" in 2009 up through the president's most recent Palm Springs and Key Largo golf outings. The most lavish expenditure so far on record was for the Obamas’ 2013 Africa trip and Honolulu vacation, which cost taxpayers $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses alone. The single largest expense for accommodations was for Michelle Obama's side-trip to Dublin, Ireland, during the 2013 G-8 conference in Belfast, when she and her entourage booked 30 rooms at the five-star Shelbourne Hotel, with the first lady staying in the 1500 square-foot Princess Grace suite at a cost of $3,500 a night. The total cost to taxpayers for the Obamas' Ireland trip was $7,921,638.66.