First Lady’s Spanish Vacation 'Cost Taxpayers $500,000'

Thursday, 26 Apr 2012 04:43 PM

By Martin Gould

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First Lady Michelle Obama’s 2010 Spanish vacation cost U.S. taxpayers nearly half a million dollars, the right-leaning Judicial Watch claimed on Thursday.

The total cost was $467,585, according to the group’s president Tom Fitton, who says it took “two years and a lawsuit” to get the information.

“It is hypocritical for President Obama to fire GSA officials for wasteful conference spending, while his family went on a luxury vacation in the Costa del Sol Spain that cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars,” Fitton said referring to the scandal surrounding the General Services Administration’s lavish training conference in Las Vegas.

Obama and her then-nine-year-old younger daughter, Sasha, went on the trip to Andalusia and Majorca “with two friends and four of their daughters, as well as a couple of aides and a couple of advance staff members,” the New York Times reported at the time. The vacation included a meeting with King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia.

Obama and the other family paid for their own hotel bills, but Judicial Watch said the flight costs came to $199,323.75. “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 group claimed.

“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 percent owner of the travel company.] Taxpayers also paid the bill for separate lodging for a dog and its handler.”

Fitton said, “The American people can ill afford to keep sending the First Family on vacations around the globe. There needs to be greater sensitivity to the costs borne by taxpayers for these personal trips.”

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