The cost of funding the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s 17-month investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks in Libya is just slightly more than the amount taxpayers were billed for a couple of golf outings and a political fundraiser President Obama attended in February and March.
The watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained records which show that trips Obama made earlier this year to Chicago, Los Angeles and other parts of California cost taxpayers $4,436,245.50 in transportation expenses alone.
That’s nearly the amount of money that the Benghazi Committee has spent, mostly on staffers’ salaries, during its investigation. That spending, $4.5 million worth, has been one source of complaint from the usually spend-happy Democrats who believe that the committee’s investigation is a politically-motivated hit job on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state during the Benghazi attack.
“After 16 months and 4.5 million dollars spent the Select Committee has gained no new insights into the attacks in Benghazi; worse still, the committee’s leadership cannot even identify a legitimate objective for its continuing operation,” Rep. [crscore]Adam Schiff[/crscore], a Benghazi Committee Democrat, said last month.
But the American public appears to have received more bang for their buck in the Benghazi inquiry — which has uncovered tens of thousands of previously-undisclosed documents, including both Hillary Clinton’s emails and those of Ambassador Chris Stevens. The committee has also interviewed more than 30 new witnesses.
In contrast, only Obama and Democrats benefited from his junkets to Chicago and California, as documents that Judicial Watch obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show.
Judicial Watch put together the timeline of Obama’s trips and calculated the costs of the flights to get there. At $206,337 per flight hour to operate Air Force One — according to the Air Force’s own estimate — Judicial Watch found that Obama’s Feb. 14 golf outing to Palm Springs, Cal. cost taxpayers $1,031,685 for a five-hour flight.
While there, Obama golfed at the swanky Sunnylands country club and stayed on a gated property once owned by Ambassador Walter Annenberg.
His Feb. 19 trip to Chicago cost $619,011. Though billed as a governmental trip — Obama was there to dedicate a national monument — he also campaigned for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, his former chief of staff.
A fundraising trip to Los Angeles in March racked up a $1,980,835.20 tab. The Democratic party benefited from that junket. Obama attended a roundtable meeting at the home of Chris Silbermann, the head of an international talent and literary agency. The $33,400 ticket price per attendee went to benefit the Democratic National Committee.
Obama’s Palm City golf junket on March 28 to the exclusive Floridian National Golf Club required a 3.9-hour flight and cost $804,870.30.
As Judicial Watch notes, the price tag for Obama’s extracurricular outings does not include the costs for additional security.
Of course, Obama and the first family have gone on numerous other vacations throughout the year. Judicial Watch asserts that their trips earlier this year to Africa and Hawaii cost nearly $16 million in flight expenses alone.