Obama's Family Trips on Air Force One Cost Taxpayers $15.9M

Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 01:27 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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President Barack Obama’s family vacations abroad at taxpayer expense has been slammed by a watchdog group keeping tabs on the bills.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama, and their daughters, traveled to Africa last summer and then to Honolulu over the winter – and the cost of the flights alone on Air Force One came to $15,888,585, according to Judicial Watch.

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The organization, which unearthed the figure through the Freedom of Information Act, found that the flights in and around Africa by the Obamas in June and July 2013 came to 35.5 hours at a cost of $228,288 an hour, totaling $8,104,224.

The family’s flights on Air Force One for their 17-day Christmas vacation to Honolulu between December 2013 and January 2014 totaled 36.9 hours at a cost of $210,877 an hour, adding up to $7,781,361.

Furthermore, Judicial Watch also revealed that the flight costs for the family’s trip in August last year to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, was $1,164,268.

"The costs to taxpayers of President Obama’s travel, especially his luxury vacation travel, are beyond the pale," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. "And the secrecy surrounding these costs shows that Obama’s vows of transparency are rubbish."

The first lady is currently wrapping up a week-long trip to China with her daughters, Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12, that has been billed as part tourism and part diplomacy.

Although it is not yet known how much the working vacation is costing taxpayers, a recent report revealed that similar planned expenses for Vice President Joe Biden were deemed to be cost "prohibitive" on his trip there last year.

The group has been staying at Beijing’s five-star Westin Chaoyang Hotel in the presidential suite, which carries a price tag of about $8,400 per night.

Another watchdog group, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, revealed earlier this month that Obama has spent more time traveling internationally than any other modern president  at a skyrocketing cost to taxpayers.

The foundation’s report was released Monday as the president started a five-day, five-country trip to Europe and the Middle East. The survey says that Obama has taken 31 foreign trips totaling 119 days since assuming office in 2009.

While the cost of the trip to American citizens had not yet been added up, it will certainly raise eyebrows because Obama was accompanied by 900 staff and security personnel as well as 45 vehicles and three cargo planes.

The Belgium government, however, has calculated that its bill for extra police, military security and transport expenses will be $13.8 million – and that was just for a 24-hour visit from the president to attend European Union and NATO summits, according to The Guardian.

Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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