The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
              President Barack Obama walks toward the tee while golfing at Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Mass., on the island of Martha

It’s good to be king

Photo of Tom Fitton
Tom Fitton
President, Judicial Watch

Barack Obama is off on yet another vacation – his third this year and fifteenth since taking office. And while Obama vacations, the American people are forced to cut back as he, his family, and his cronies are living like royalty on the taxpayers’ tab.

With unemployment at 7.4 percent and the economy failing to create enough jobs to keep up with population growth, most Americans cannot even afford a night out – let alone a luxurious Obama-type vacation in what Politico calls “the playgrounds of the rich and famous.” According to a recent Reuters poll, 81 percent of Americans said they are cutting down on meals at restaurants, 73 percent are reducing entertainment costs such as movies and concerts, and 62 percent are spending less on travel and vacations.

And what is Barack Obama’s response to this downturn in the American people’s fortunes under his leadership? Why, fire up the jet and let’s head for the beach! Or the links. Or the slopes. Or the Costa del Sol.

We were reminded anew of the Obama regime’s icy indifference to the costs to the American people of government-funded travel just last week when Judicial Watch obtained the travel records of Obama Attorney General Eric Holder. According to the Justice Department documents, between March 27, 2009, and August 24, 2012, Holder accrued an astounding $4,263,704.01 in total travel expenses. This included $697,525.20 in taxpayer-funded personal travel expenses.

Altogether, Holder took 213 out-of-Washington trips during the 42 months for which we obtained records. His 31 personal trips during the time period included two trips to Martha’s Vineyard with a flight-only price tag of $95,185, as well as eight getaways to Farmingdale, New York, at a flight cost of $118,554.

And, remember, all of this occurred while 62 percent the average taxpayers – those forced to foot the bill for Holder’s flights on government-owned luxury jets – were spending less and less on travel and vacations. But, the truth is, even Holder’s $95,000 Martha’s Vineyard outings dim in comparison to what the Obama family forces the American taxpayer to spend when they decide to let the good times roll.

In 2010, when the Obama family spent their Christmas vacation at a luxury beachfront retreat in Kailua Bay, Hawaii, a local newspaper published some of the daunting numbers. They included $63,000 for the First Lady to take an early flight to the island, $1 million for the president’s round-trip flight, and hundreds of thousands for beachfront homes for Secret Service and military personnel as well as the White House entourage.

In October 2011, we ferreted out documents detailing the costs of a June 2011 trip taken by Michelle Obama, her staff, and her family to South Africa and Botswana. According to expense records and manifests for that trip, the cost for flight and crew alone was $424,142.

In April 2012, we exposed the costs associated with what the press described as Michelle Obama’s “whirlwind tour of Spain” in August 2010. According to a Judicial Watch analysis, the trip, which included visits to coastal towns, shopping and a lunch date with the country’s King and Queen, cost the taxpayers at least $467,585.

And yet, there’s more. In June 2013, we had to file FOIA lawsuit just to get basic information about the costs to taxpayers of Barack Obama’s February “boys’ weekend” in Palm Beach, Florida. Reporting on Obama’s retreat to the West Palm Beach “well-trod stomping ground of the rich,” WhiteHouseDossier.com observed, “While unemployment stands at nearly eight percent, Obama is taking his second vacation of 2013. The year is only six weeks old.”