The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch announced on Tuesday that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on May 31, 2012 seeking records pertaining to First Lady Michelle Obama’s February 2012 President’s Day weekend ski vacation in Aspen, Colo., with her two daughters. The suit names the U.S Air Force and Secret Service as litigants.
JW filed its original FOIA request with the Air Force on February 21, 2012. The request was for any and all records concerning the mission taskings, transportation costs, and passenger manifests. A similar request was filed with the Secret Service around the same time. By law, JW was entitled to a response by May 9, 2012, but never received one.
In a statement, JW’s president, Tom Fitton, asks:
Why is the Obama administration repeatedly stonewalling basic questions about the costs of the Obama family’s personal travel? In the least, the Obama administration owes the American people the truth about how much each of these trips cost….
In April, JW obtained documents from the Air Force and Secret Service detailing costs associated with Michelle Obama’s controversial August 2010 vacation to Spain. According to a JW analysis, the records indicated a total combined cost of at least $467,585.
JW also obtained documents detailing costs of a June 21-27, 2011, trip taken by Michelle Obama, her family, and her staff to South Africa and Botswana. JW received mission expense records and passenger manifests for the Africa trip that described costs of $424,142 for the flight and crew alone. Other expenses, such as off-flight food, transportation, and security were not included.
One report suggests that the Aspen trip was the 16th vacation in three years taken by the Obama family.
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