Our presidents are catered to 24/7, and nobody would deny them safety and tools to do their job. However, all too often they seem to be tempted to slip into occasional ostentation, to conflate their personal and political agendas with the duties of their office. You know it happens —we do too.
That’s why Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information lawsuit (FOIA) against the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seeking Air Force and Secret Service expense records for Obama family travel dating back to 2014. We filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (No. 117-cv-01007)).
We also want Secret Service expenditure records for the kickoff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign between April 1 and May 6, 2015.
Additionally, we seek travel records regarding President-elect Donald Trump between Nov. 9 and Dec. 12, 2016, for residing in Trump Tower and then going on a "Thank You Tour" of six states.
We went to court after the Air Force and Secret Service failed to respond to multiple FOIA requests filed between October and December 2016.
Our requests to the Air Force are seeking records concerning mission taskings, transportation costs, and passenger manifests for:
Our requests to the Secret Service are seeking all records of costs for providing security and other services for all VIPs for the following:
- Michelle Obama and her daughters on their yearly Aspen vacation in February 2014. The Secret Service expenditures totaled $121,876.21 for a similar vacation in 2015, which includes airfare
- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from April 1, 2015 to May 6, 2015
- Michelle Obama’s trip to Morocco, Spain and Liberia in June and July 2016 to "promote education"
- Michelle Obama’s October 2016 Clinton campaign stop in North Carolina.
- Obama’s October 2016 trip to Los Angeles, Calif.
- Obama’s November 2016 trip to Orlando, Fla.
- Security expenses for then President-Elect Donald Trump and Trump Tower in New York, New York from Nov. 9, 2106 to Dec. 5, 2016
- President-elect Trump’s "Thank You Tour" from Nov. 9, 2016 to Dec. 2, 2016.
- Security expenses for Obama’s residence in Chicago, Ill., between Jan. 20, 2009 to Dec. 7, 2016
As you know, we monitored Obama family travel costs throughout his presidency. On May 17, we announced our latest figures showing Obama family travel cost taxpayers at least $99,714,527.82 during his two terms.
We are also demanding transparency from the Trump administration, tracking and suing for records of the travel expenses incurred by President Trump, the first lady and other VIPs.
The government could not care less about giving taxpayers basic information about what it costs to provide travel and protection to our political leadership and candidates. Judicial Watch shouldn’t have to file federal lawsuits to get basic information about how much taxpayers spend on the presidency, but if that what it takes.
Tom Fitton is the president of Judicial Watch. He is a nationally recognized expert on government corruption. A former talk radio and television host and analyst, Tom is well known across the country as a national spokesperson for the conservative cause. He has been quoted in Time, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and most every other major newspaper in the country. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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