Politics

              First lady Michelle Obama is interviewed by The Associated Press about the White House Kitchen Garden, Tuesday, June 5, 2012, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
              First lady Michelle Obama is interviewed by The Associated Press about the White House Kitchen Garden, Tuesday, June 5, 2012, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)   

Watchdog group sues for transparency on Michelle Obama vacation expenses

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

A government watchdog group has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Secret Service in an effort to obtain records detailing Michelle Obama and the Obama daughters’ February 2012 President’s Day weekend ski vacation to Aspen, Colorado.

The lawsuit is a more aggressive followup to Judicial Watch’s February 21, 2012 FOIA request with the U.S. Air Force — seeking all records mission taskings, transportation costs and passenger manifests — and the U.S. Secret Service — seeking all records dealing with taxpayer funds to provide security and/or any other services to Michelle Obama and her companions during their Aspen trip.

While both bodies acknowledged receipt of Judicial Watch’s FOIA requests, the deadlines for compliance have passed.

“Why is the Obama administration repeatedly stonewalling basic questions about the costs of the Obama family’s personal travel?” asked Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement. “In the least, the Obama administration owes the American people the truth about how much each of these trips cost, instead of stonewalling and obfuscation.”

Noting that the ski trip to Aspen was the first family’s 16th vacation in three years, Judicial Watch hopes to pinpoint how much the trip over President’s Day cost taxpayers.

In April, the group obtained documents through a FOIA request revealing that the first lady’s 2010 vacation to Spain cost taxpayers $467,585. Last October, another Judicial Watch FOIA request (and lawsuit) produced documents showing that another Michelle Obama family trip to South Africa and Botswana cost taxpayers $424,142 for the flight and crew alone; additional trip expenses such as off-flight food and security were not produced.

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