Sunday, November 23, 2014

Taxpayers 'Gouged' by Obama's Unnecessary Travel

President Obama's Labor Day 2014 weekend trips for fundraising, personal business, and politicking ran up a tab of $1,539,400 in taxpayer-paid transportation expenses.

That disclosure comes from U.S. Air Force records obtained by Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed the day after Labor Day.

Obama began his Labor Day weekend by flying to Westchester, N.Y., on Friday, August 29. While there he attended two fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee.

Later that day he took off for Providence, R.I., for a fundraiser at a private residence, where tickets cost up to $32,400. The event was Obama's ninth fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this year, Judicial Watch noted.

The trips to Westchester and Providence cost taxpayers $527,192 for transportation alone.

Obama was originally scheduled to fly back to Westchester on Friday night, spend the night there, then return to Washington after attending the wedding of White House chef Sam Kass and MSNBC host Alex Wagner on Saturday. But he changed his plans at the last minute and flew to Washington instead.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said this change allowed Obama to "sleep in his own bed, do a little work tomorrow, spend some time with his family, and then travel back to New York."

Flying to Washington, D.C., instead of Westchester required an additional 1.4 hours spent on Air Force One, which added $295,227 more in taxpayer dollars to bring the total cost of the round trip between New York and D.C. to $358,490.

Obama wrapped up his Labor Day travel by flying to Milwaukee, Wis., on Monday, where he made a campaign speech at Laborfest 2014. This cost taxpayers $653,718.

"This Labor Day back-and-forth shows President Obama seems to confuse Air Force One with Uber," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

"President Obama abuses not only taxpayers with this unnecessary travel, he strains an already overstretched military and a Secret Service that is in crisis and can't even guard the front door of the White House.

"The new Congress could do worse than to reform presidential travel so taxpayers aren't gouged by candidates and campaigns benefiting from the political use of Air Force One."

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