Travel Records: Obama Family Vacations, Campaign Expenses Cost Taxpayers $114 Million

Newly released presidential travel records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force and the Secret Service show that former President Barack Obama’s family vacations and campaign expenses cost taxpayers $114 million.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, announced Monday that they obtained the records after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and two federal lawsuits asking for presidential travel expenses of Obama and President Trump.

The latest batch of documents released by the two agencies shows that the Obamas spent $9,028,346.90 on non-work related travel, bringing the total amount of personal travel expenses during Obama’s presidency to $114,691,322.17.

The additional records show Secret Service and Air Force expenses for two Obama family vacations that took place the weekend of February 14, 2014, and two campaign trips Michelle Obama made to North Carolina to campaign for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The two vacations, which included Michelle Obama’s annual trip to Aspen, Colorado, with her daughters and former President Obama’s annual golfing trip to Palm Springs, cost the Secret Service $272,192.91, records show.

Michelle Obama’s campaign trips, meanwhile, cost the Air Force $40,902.40.  In both instances, Judicial Watch notes the former first lady flew a C-40C military jet with an operating cost of $5,312 per hour:

  • Michelle Obama flew to Charlottesville then to Raleigh on October 4 for 2.1 hours at a total of $11,155.20
  • Michelle Obama flew roundtrip to Belville and then Salem on October 26 and 27 for a total of 5.6 hours at $29,747.20.

The records also note that Obama spent more than $7 million in taxpayer money to fly to Chicago over the last three years of his presidency.

But Obama’s taxpayer-funded trips did not end there: Secret Service documents showed that Obama spent nearly $2 million of taxpayer money on post-presidency travel. The former president’s travel destinations, however, were redacted for “privacy” and “law enforcement” reasons.

The documents also show that Trump spent $2,821,367.34 on non-work related travel, bringing the total known travel costs for the president and his family to $10,381,792.35.

Air Force documents show that Trump has spent $1.1 million of taxpayer money on two trips he made to his Mar-a-Lago resort in April 2017 to meet with Chinese President Ji Jinping and to celebrate Easter.

The current president also spent $603,107.40 to fly to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to attend a rally to celebrate his 100th day in office and to visit his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club once in May and once in June.

Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch’s president, said he was frustrated that it took several federal lawsuits to get the government to release information about presidential travel costs that are funded by taxpayers.

“It shouldn’t require federal lawsuits to prod the Secret Service and Air Force to produce information about the costs of presidential travel – whether the travel is necessary or not, it’s a massive amount of money,” he said. “We will continue to monitor this spending while taxpayers continue to pay the bills for presidential travel.”


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