Attorney General Charges taxpayers for luxury trips, including 2009 US/Mexico gun running “meeting”
Department of Justice documents made public this week reveal that Attorney General Eric Holder amassed over $4 million in travel expenses in a four year period, figures that will once again raise questions over opulent government spending.
Independent government watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained the documents after filing a Freedom of Information Act request one year ago.
The DoJ documents detailing Holder’s expenses can be viewed below:
The group notes on its website that between March 27, 2009, and August 24, 2012, Holder’s travel expenses reached $4,263,704.01 in total. The DOJ documents also show that this figure included $697,525.20 in taxpayer-funded personal travel expenses.
“Altogether, Holder took 213 out-of-Washington trips during the 42 months for which Judicial Watch obtained records.” the group writes.
“His 31 personal trips during the time period included two trips to Martha’s Vineyard with a flight-only price tag of $95,184.50, as well as eight trips to Farmingdale, New York, at a flight cost of $118,553.71. On September 9, 2010, Holder took a one-day personal jaunt to Atlantic City that cost the taxpayers $7,408 in flight expenses alone.” the account continues.
Other notable luxury trips included a charge to taxpayers of $15,452.50 for an April 2011 speaking engagement at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in New York City, as well as a $38,108.18 charge for “business and personal” expenses following trips to Orlando and New Orleans to speak at an event in June 2012 organised by pro-amnesty group LULAC.
Holder also submitted another charge of exactly the same amount, $38,108.18, one month later, to speak in Las Vegas before La Raza, the notoriously racist pro-amnesty group. The Attorney General also traveled aboard a military plane at an unknown cost in the same month in order to speak before the NAACP convention in Houston.
Holder even submitted expense forms for room service and lodging during the trips.
Perhaps the most revealing cost billed to taxpayers by Holder was for an April 2009 “US/Mexico Arms Trafficking Strategy Meeting”. While the total cost of the trip was unavailable, the real revelation is that the confab was scheduled to discuss gun-running between the US and Mexico, which Holder maintains that he had no involvement with.
Judicial Watch explains that a 2004 Government Accountability Office requirement means that the Attorney General must travel on government aircraft due to “security and communications needs.”
A recent Bloomberg Businessweek report noted that “For personal trips, Holder is required to reimburse the government for the equivalent commercial coach fare, which is often much less than the total trip costs according to the GAO.”
The article notes that Holder tends to fly on a Gulfstream V luxury jet, the same aircraft favored by former Apple chairman Steve Jobs and billionaire businessman Mark Cuban.
“I hope these documents help Attorney General Holder understand the burden his unnecessary personal travel places on American taxpayers,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The notion that federal officials such as Holder have access to a fleet of luxury jets for discounted personal travel for “security” reasons should strike most Americans as a scam that needs to be reformed.”
The revelations come in the wake of another Judicial Watch attempt to obtain documents relating to the cost of lavish holidays taken by Barack Obama, his family, and the vice president Joe Biden.
The group has filed suit with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, specifically seeking information relating to Obama’s February 2013 opulent vacation in Palm Beach, Florida, which was described in the media as “a weekend with the boys, presidential style.”