The watchdog group responsible for keeping politicians accountable all over DC have had to sue to get this particular information released by the White House. After reading the details of Michelle Obama’s “work-vacation” you can see why they didn’t want this to become public knowledge. The country is in an economic meltdown and we are constantly being preached to by our President and his administration that “we” need to tighten our belts and ride this wave, which makes these figures so much more troubling.
The group filed a freedom of Information Act request “seeking the mission taskings, transportation records, and passenger manifests for Michelle Obama’s Africa trip. It finally got them after filing a lawsuit.
It found the U.S. Air Force provided a C-32A aircraft, which is a modified Boeing 757, and that the cost for flying the First Lady and her entourage to and from Africa was $424,142 (34.8 flight hours x $12,188 per hour). In addition, it reports another $928.44 was spent on providing 192 meals for the 21 people who made the trip.
So who was part of the entourage? Well, as was reported at the time, the Obamas’ children — Sasha and Malia — as well as Michelle’s mother and niece and nephew joined her on the trip, which also included a personal safari and visit to Nelson Mandela. But here’s where it could get interesting: Judicial watch found that the manifest lists some of them as “senior staff:”
The passenger manifests confirm the presence of Obama’s daughter’s, Malia and Sasha on the trip. The two girls are listed as “Senior Staff.” The manifests also list Mrs. Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, and niece and nephew, Leslie and Avery Robinson, as well Mrs. Obama’s makeup and hairstylist (Carl Ray and Johnny Wright).
While the numbers cause one to sit up and scowl– seeing as each one of those numbers represents the blood, sweat and tears of the taxpayers- you also have to ask yourself why the mother, the niece and nephew, makeup and hairstylist, etc should also be traveling on a safari vacation via the taxpayer’s dollars?
All that being said, I don’t think many of the taxpayers would mind this final cost if they knew it was for a permanent vacation. But, alas, they came back.