Judicial Watch announced that it recently received expense records from the Department of Homeland Security revealing that Secret Service expenses for the Obama family vacation to Honolulu during December 2013-January 2014 cost taxpayers at least $316,698.03. These new expenses bring the total for the Hawaii Christmas vacation trip to $8,098,060.33. The Secret Service waited nearly two years to produce the requested numbers to Judicial Watch.
The heavily redacted records were obtained on December 28 in response to a January 6, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. According to the records:
$91,751.78 in car rental expenses were paid
$224,974.05 in accommodation expenses were paid to Cabana Girl, LLC and Paradise Luxury Rentals
The documents are heavily redacted and the Secret Service is withholding 28 pages in their entirety.
Saying he was “eager to skip town” Obama took his family to Honolulu on December 20, 2013, for a 17-day Christmas vacation. As reported by The Washington Post:
The presidential motorcade ferried the Obamas across Oahu, the state’s most populous island, to the well-to-do oceanfront neighborhood of Kailua, where as in years past they have rented a private home for what this time will be a 17-day holiday vacation.
For the sixth straight year, Obama spends Christmas and New Year’s in Hawaii, gathering with extended family and friends — and, yes, perfecting his golf game.
In March 2014, Judicial Watch released flight expense records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that for this Hawaii vacation the Obamas incurred $7,781,361.30 in flight expenses alone (36.9 hours at $210,877 an hour).
This was the first Judicial Watch FOIA request about Obama’s security costs the Secret Service has answered since July, 2014.
Last month, Judicial Watch separately sued the Department of Homeland Security for ignoring 19 other FOIA requests. The FOIA lawsuit asks the court to enjoin the Secret Service from continuing to withhold responsive documents from Judicial Watch (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:15-cv-01983)).
The known total expense to the American taxpayers thus far for all Obama travel is now $70,880,035.78.
“It seems our lawsuits finally got the attention of the Secret Service. It is easy to see why the Secret Service, reeling from its own scandals, covered up these outrageous expense numbers for just one of Obama’s luxury Christmas vacation,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The $317,000 in Secret Service expenses are only the tip of the iceberg for the true cost of Obama’s 2013 vacation in Hawaii, which has now skyrocketed to $8,098,060. It is nice to know that Obama’s ‘tradition’ of Christmas vacations in Hawaii comes courtesy of overburdened taxpayers.”
“The Obamas’ travel is out of control,” Fitton said earlier in December. “They are treating the Air Force One like an Uber ride. And President Obama seems oblivious to the burden he is placing on Americans with his continuous vacations, getaways, and political junkets at taxpayer expense.”
“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,” Obama said in 2008 while campaigning for office. “That’s not leadership. That’s not going to happen,” he added.
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