Over the past eight years, President Barack Obama and his family have spent more than $10 million a year for travel and vacations, totaling in excess of $85 million — and the number is still growing.
The numbers were revealed Monday by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. The organization has been tracking the president’s travel spending for several years and just disclosed, based on bills it received this week, that the first family spent almost $5 million in taxpayer money for their annual Christmas vacation to Hawaii last year.
The Obamas, who will officially move out of the White House on Jan. 20, are expected to leave soon for their annual Christmas trip, which last year lasted from Dec. 18 to Jan. 3.
The exact number for the 2015 holiday trip rang in at $4,823,206.88, which accounted for a robust U.S. Secret Service apparatus, flights and transportation and lodging for the security officials. That number does not include the costs for prepositioning aircraft and ships in the area or much of the necessary communications to protect the president and his family.
“The Secret Service and the Air Force are being abused by unnecessary travel,” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said in a statement on the matter. “Unnecessary presidential travel for fundraising and luxury vacations on the taxpayers’ dime would be a good target for reform for the incoming Trump administration.”
From the Judicial Watch report:
According to bills obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Secret Service also paid for rooms at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki and Golf Club. The Secret Service also reserved rooms at the Moana Surfrider resort on Waikiki Beach, and the Ala Moana Hotel, which cost a total of $40,249.48 and $671,895.99, respectively.
The Secret Service rented cars from Avis, Alamo, and Hertz — 103 cars for the two-week vacation, totaling $165,893.88 in taxpayer money.
Reportedly, the Obamas stayed at the Hale Reena Estate, which “rents for anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 a night, depending on the season.”
The first family also dined at several top-of-the-line restaurants while they were on the trip, which — in addition to the fees for the food — required presidential-level security.
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the information in January and the documents were released in response to a lawsuit filed on May 6.