WASHINGTON, April 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Judicial Watch announced today it has obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealing that President Obama's June 2013 trip to Belfast, Ireland, including a Dublin sightseeing side trip by Michelle Obama, her daughters, and her entourage, cost the taxpayers $7,921,638.66.
According to the Department of Air Force documents, the flights to, from, and around Ireland for the June 17 – 19, 2013 trip totaled 33.6 hours at $228,288 an hour, which comes to a flight expense alone of $7,670,476.80 The records came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information lawsuit filed on January 13, 2014.
According to the DHS documents, the total cost for "security and/or other services" for the Dublin side trip by Michelle Obama and her entourage was $251,161.86, including $55,004.85 at the Shelbourne Hotel and $70,855.44 at the Westbury Hotel. Vehicle rental charges were $114,721. The records also came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information lawsuit filed on January 13, 2014.
After accompanying the president to a meeting with Northern Ireland youth on the morning of June 17, the First Lady, her daughters, and her entourage departed on their own, apparently aboard Air Force Two, for a sightseeing side trip to Dublin. Though the White House claimed the trip was for diplomatic purposes, WashingtonDossier.com reported the itinerary showed, "She and her daughters will visit the Trinity College library to explore President Obama's Irish family roots, attend a performance by the world-famous Riverdance troupe, and visit the Wicklow Mountains national forest."
In a June 2013, article, on the Michelle Obama side trip, the Washington Times reported, "First lady Michelle Obama is sparing no expense on her trip to Ireland, staying at a $3,300-per-night hotel suite in Dublin. Irish press reports Monday said Mrs. Obama and her entourage have booked 30 rooms in the five-star Shelbourne hotel. The first lady is said to be staying in the Princess Grace Suite …. " According to the hotel's website, the Grace Kelly Suite features two guest bedrooms, a living room, and a dining area, and measures 1530 square feet.
The Secret Service documents obtained by Judicial Watch reveal that members of the Obama entourage also rented rooms at Dublin's Westbury Hotel. The hotel's website describes the "glamorous, iconic 5 star" Westbury as, "a great social hub and Dublin's ultimate city address." The Daily Mail estimated the cost of Michelle Obama's two-day trip to Ireland, in addition to flight and security costs obtained by Judicial Watch, has been estimated at around $5 million.
"It is clear that the Obamas' abused the perk of the president's official trip to the G-8 summit for a luxury European vacation at taxpayer expense," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "And it is shameful that it took a federal lawsuit to obtain this information. Transparency goes by the wayside for the Obamas when it comes to covering up their abuse of taxpayer resources."
In February, Judicial Watch reported that the Obamas incurred $1,164,268.60 in flight expenses alone for the August, 2013 family vacation to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. In March, Judicial Watch released flight expense records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that the Obamas incurred $8,104,224 in flight expenses for their June to July, 2013 official trip to Africa and $7,781,361.30 for their 2013-2014 Christmas vacation to Honolulu, for a two-trip total of $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses alone.
SOURCE Judicial Watch