After nearly a year of waiting, Judicial Watch has obtained Department of Justice records showing Attorney General Eric Holder’s travel excursions cost taxpayers over $4 million, including nearly $700,000 in personal travel expenses.
Requested under the Freedom of Information Act, the documents show Holder took 213 business trips and 31 personal trips during the 42-month period between March 2009 and August 2012, the Digital Journal reported.
Flights alone on a trip to Martha’s Vineyard cost $95,184.50, and eight trips to
Farmingdale, N.Y., cost $118,553.71 in airline fees, according to the Judicial Watch report. On Sept. 9, 2010, Holder took a one-day personal jaunt to Atlantic City that cost taxpayers $7,408 in flight expenses alone.
Here are some of the most notable expenses Judicial Watch listed:
In April, 2011, Holder charged taxpayers $15,452.50 for a speaking engagement at Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in New York City.
In June, 2012, Holder charged $38,108.18 in “business and personal” expenses to address LULAC, a liberal group that strongly supports amnesty for illegal aliens, in Orlando and New Orleans.
In July, 2012, Holder charged an additional $38,108.18, this time fully billed to the taxpayers, to speak before La Raza, another controversial pro-amnesty group, in Las Vegas.
Also in July, 2012, Holder flew on a Department of Defense plane, at unknown cost, to speak before the NAACP convention in Houston.
The report noted that Holder’s first taxpayer-funded trip was to Mexico for a “US/Mexico Arms Trafficking Strategy Meeting” in April 2009, addressing gun-running between the United States and Mexico, an issue in which the attorney general later claimed he had no involvement. The cost for that trip was “unavailable,” according to the Judicial Watch report.
Holder is considered a “required use” official, meaning he must take government aircraft for all travel while in office because of his “security and communications needs,” according to a February 2013 U.S. Government Accountability Office report.
Judicial Watch said Holder usually flies on a Gulfstream V, “the same private luxury jet owned 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,” Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton said. “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.”
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