Michelle Obama’s South Africa Vacation Cost Taxpayers $432,142 – Have YOU Had a Half Million Dollar Vacation Lately?

October 5, 2011

First lady Michelle Obama’s family trip to South Africa and Botswana in June cost taxpayers well over $424,000, according to new accounting based on Air Force manifests obtained by Judicial Watch, a taxpayer watchdog group.

The use of Air Force aircraft alone for the June 21-27 trip cost $424,142, said the group, and that doesn’t include the food, lodging, and ground transportation for the 21 family and staff members.

Judicial Watch said it based the jet costs on the Pentagon’s hourly rates for the C-32A aircraft used for the trip. The documents don’t give exact cost calculations, which is typical for presidential and first family trips.

Obama is like many first ladies, spending summers traveling on good-will missions, sometimes with family and friends. On the June trip, during which she was accompanied by her daughters and mother, the first lady urged young people to engage with their governments and she pushed her education and wellness agenda. They also took a safari in South Africa, well known for its beautiful Lion King-like settings.

The costs of the trips have often won media scorn, as did her trip to Spain the previous summer.

But presidential experts say that the value of first lady visits is priceless, especially in cases like Obama’s to Africa where the first family has special ties and where the president has been pursuing a personal agenda, especially in Kenya, the home of his father.

Here is a link to the Judicial Watch files and their release:

Charges for the Aircraft and Crew Alone Amount to $424,142

Contact Information:

Washington, DC — October 4, 2011

Judicial Watch, the organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it has obtained mission expense records and passenger manifests from the United States Air Force related to the June 21-27, 2011, trip taken by First Lady Michelle Obama, her family and her staff to South Africa and Botswana. Judicial Watch obtained the documents pursuant to an August 19, 2011, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Air Force (No. 11-1496)). Judicial Watch is investigating the purpose and itinerary of the trip as well as a breakdown of the costs to taxpayers.

On June 28, 2011, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request seeking the mission taskings, transportation records, and passenger manifests for Michelle Obama’s Africa trip. Documents were only provided after Judicial Watch filed suit:

• According to U.S. Department of Defense’s published hourly rates for the C-32A aircraft used for the trip, Judicial Watch calculated the total cost to American taxpayers was $424,142 for use of the aircraft (34.8 flight hours x $12,188 per hour). (The C-32 is a specially configured military version of the Boeing 757.) Other expenses – meals (off the plane), transportation, security, various services, etc. – have yet to be disclosed.

• The passenger manifests confirm the presence of Obama’s daughter’s, Malia and Sasha on the trip. The two girls are listed as “Senior Staff.” The manifests also list Mrs. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, and niece and nephew, Leslie and Avery Robinson, as well Mrs. Obama’s makeup and hairstylist (Carl Ray and Johnny Wright).

• The expense records also show $928.44 was spent for “bulk food” purchases on flight. Overall, during the trip, 192 meals were served for the 21 passengers on board.

The professed purpose of Michelle Obama’s trip to South Africa and Botswana was to encourage young people living in the two growing democracies to become involved in national affairs; and during her scheduled stops in Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa and in Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, the First Lady used the opportunity to speak on education, health and wellness issues.

The trip also included such tourist events as visits to historical landmarks and museums, plus a nonworking chance to send time with Nelson Mandela, a meeting that Mrs. Obama described as “surreal.” The trip ended with a private family safari at a South African game reserve before the group returned to Washington on June 27.

“This trip was as much an opportunity for the Obama family to go on a safari as it was a trip to conduct government business,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This junket wasted tax dollars and the resources of our overextended military. No wonder we had to sue to pry loose this information.”

Previously, Judicial Watch uncovered that the First Couple’s 2009 “date night” trip to New York for dinner and a Broadway show cost taxpayers over $11,000 in Secret Service costs alone.

From:  http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2011/10/04/michelle-obamas-africa-vacation-cost-more-than-432142


Michelle Obama Vacations: $10 Million in Taxpayer Money on Expensive Massages, Top Shelf Vodka and Five-Star Hotels

August 24, 2011

The Obamas’ summer break on Martha’s Vineyard has already been branded a PR disaster after the couple arrived four hours apart on separate government jets.

But according to new reports, this is the least of their extravagances.

White House sources today claimed that the First Lady has spent $10million of U.S. taxpayers’ money on vacations alone in the past year.

Branding her ‘disgusting’ and ‘a vacation junkie’, they say the 47-year-old mother-of-two has been indulging in five-star hotels, where she splashes out on expensive massages and alcohol.

The ‘top source’ told the National Enquirer: ‘It’s disgusting. Michelle is taking advantage of her privileged position while the most hardworking Americans can barely afford a week or two off work.

‘When it’s all added up, she’s spent more than $10million in taxpayers’ money on her vacations.’

The First Lady is believed to have taken 42 days of holiday in the past year, including a $375,000 break in Spain and a four-day ski trip to Vail, Colorado, where she spent $2,000 a night on a suite at the Sebastian hotel.

And the first family’s nine-day stay in Martha’s Vineyard is also proving costly, with rental of the Blue Heron Farm property alone costing an estimated $50,000 a week.

The source continued: ‘Michelle also enjoys drinking expensive booze during her trips. She favours martinis with top-shelf vodka and has a taste for rich sparking wines.

‘The vacations are totally Michelle’s idea. She’s like a junkie. She can’t schedule enough getaways, and she lives from one to the next – all the while sticking it to hardworking Americans.’

While the President and his wife do pay for some of their personal expenses from their own pocket, the website whitehousedossier.com says that the amount paid by the couple is ‘dwarfed by the overall cost to the public’.

The magazine also reported that Mrs Obama, whose fashion choices are widely followed, had been going on ‘wild shopping sprees’, much to the distress of her husband, who, its sources reveal, is ‘absolutely furious’ at his wife’s ‘out-of-control spending’.

The President has already come under fire this week over his decision to take a family vacation while millions of Americans are out of work and countless more are financially strapped.

But the situation sparked further anger after he and his wife elected to fly separately to the Massachusetts retreat – despite travelling on the same day.

From:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2029615/Michelle-Obama-accused-spending-10m-public-money-vacations.html


Michelle Obama Thanks American Taxpayers!

July 9, 2011

Dear American Taxpayer

For only the second time in my adult life, I am not ashamed of my country. I want to thank the hard working American people for paying $242 thousand dollars for my vacation in Spain .

My daughter Sasha, several long-time family friends, my personal staff and various guests had a wonderful time. Honestly, you just haven’t lived until you have stayed in a $2,500.00 per night private 3-story villa at a 5-Star luxury hotel.

Thank you also for the use of Air Force Two and the 70 Secret Service personnel who tagged along to be sure we were safe and cared for at all times.

By the way, if you happen to be visiting the Costa del Sol, I highly recommend the Buenaventura Plaza restaurant in Marbella ; great lobster with rice and oysters! I’m ashamed to admit the lobsters we ate in Martha’s Vineyard were not quite as tasty, but what can you do if you’re not in Europe , you have to just grin and bear it?

Air Force Two (which costs $11,351 per hour to operate according to Government Accounting Office reports) only used 47,500 gallons of jet fuel for this trip and carbon emissions were a mere 1,031 tons of CO2. These are only rough estimates, but they are close. That’s quite a carbon footprint as my good friend Al Gore would say, so we must ask the American citizens to drive smaller, more fuel efficient cars and drive less too, so we can lessen our combined carbon footprint.

I know times are hard and millions of you are struggling to put food on the table and trying to make ends meet. So I do appreciate your sacrifices and do hope you find work soon.

I was really exhausted after Barack took our family on a luxury vacation in Maine. I just had to get away again for a few days.

Cordially,

Michelle (Moochelle) Obama

P.S. Oh yeas, thank you as well for the $2 BILLION dollar trip to India, during which we rented the entire Taj Mahal Hotel!

P.SS. Thank you, too, for that vacation trip to Martha’s Vineyard; it was fabulous. And thanks for that second smaller jet that took our dog Bo to Martha’s Vineyard so we and the children could have him with us while we were away from the White House for eleven days. After all, we couldn’t take him on Air Force One because he might pee on some wires or something.

P.SSS. Oh, I almost forgot to say thanks also for our two-week trip to Hawaii at Christmas. That 7,000 square foot house was great!

Love ya!

Remember we all have to share the pain of these economic times equally! Love to -redistribute- share- the wealth.