A watchdog group obtained federal records that showed a 2010 trip by Michelle Obama to Spain cost taxpayers $467,000 in travel and security expenses.
The First Lady, her younger daughter Sasha, two of Michelle’s friends and four of their daughters took the summer vacation two years ago. At the time, some criticized her for taking such a lavish vacation in the midst of tough economic times.
The White House said that Michelle Obama and her friends had paid for their rooms, food, and transportation. As it turned out, though, the cost of flying a government plane exceeded what the First Lady reimbursed. In addition, Secret Service protection for Michelle and Sasha was covered by the government, as was additional government transportation while in Spain and the cost of bringing over aides to support the First Lady while visiting King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia.
This comes at a time when Republicans, like House Speaker John Boehner, are critiquing Obama for billing the government for trips that seem more like campaign stops than government-related business. Determining how to fairly bill trips made by the president and his family is tricky business, especially when you consider how expensive it can be. Michelle Obama’s trip seems to be a more cut-and-dried vacation, and that might provide more ammo for critics to say she hasn’t paid her fair share yet.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
Want to share your own views on money, politics and the 2012 elections? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we might reprint your views in our InvestorPolitics blog! Please include your name, city and state of residence. All letters submitted to this address will be considered for publication.