Vice President Joe Biden has spent more than $1 million flying at taxpayer expense between his home in Delaware and his office in Washington, according to excerpts released from a new book.
Best-selling author Ronald Kessler said the Secret Service calls Biden’s transportation the “Wilmington Shuttle,” describing one golf outing with the president that racked up $12,406 in taxpayer expenses, according to the Daily Mail.
In the book, “The First Family Detail,” to be released Aug. 5, Kessler quotes a number of Secret Service agents about what it’s like to work for presidents and their families.
One agent said Biden takes the Marine Two helicopter to Andrews Air Force Base every Friday, then boards Air Force Two to his Delaware home, “as if taking a taxi,” according to the book. On Sundays, he makes the trip back to Washington.
“The cost of the flights is doubled because after dropping him off in Delaware or picking him up at Andrews, the Air Force has to fly the plane empty,” Kessler wrote, according to the Daily Mail.
Biden sometimes makes the trip to Wilmington to pick up his wife, and bring her to Washington. The flight is not paid for if he is not on it, Kessler said.
Ironically, President Obama put Biden in charge of rooting out unnecessary administration spending by heading up the Campaign to Cut Waste in 2011.
After feeling stonewalled on a 2013 Freedom of Information Act request for details on Biden’s trips, Kessler finally received what he was looking for, according to the Daily Mail, which reported:
Kessler says he eventually received the information he was seeking from the Air Force and found out that Biden’s trips to and from Delaware from the start of his first term as vice president through March of 2013 cost $979,680. And that amount is only for the fuel and maintenance of Air Force Two. It does not include the cost of fuel for Marine Two or the salaries of the helicopters crew.
Over the same time period, Kessler says the Air Force told him Biden flew back and forth from Wilmington to D.C. 225 times. Those trips actually required a total of 400 flights, though, because of what Kessler calls ‘deadhead’ trips – return flights when Biden was not on the plane.
The investigative journalist also found out that the total Air Force Two costs from Biden’s personal trips in fiscal year 2012 were $288,080, and that an April 21, 2012, trip back to Andrews to play golf with Obama cost the aforementioned $12,406.
Biden, who as a senator was a regular on the Amtrak shuttle between Wilmington and Washington, has said he would prefer to take the train but Secret Service agents wouldn’t let him because it “gives too many opportunities for people to interact with me in a way they wouldn’t like to see,” according to the Daily Mail.
But during last year’s sequester, agents relented and allowed Biden back on the train.
“I was able to say, ‘Look guys, I’ve got to take the train now — it’s cheaper than flying.’ So I get to take the train again,” Biden said at a National Association of Attorneys General event in February 2013, according to Fox News.
Biden knew the cost of his frivolous trips and should have reined them in, Kessler claimed.
“While Secret Service agents say flying is the most secure way for Biden to make the trips, the question is, why the sheriff who is supposed to cut out government waste thinks it is appropriate to take such frequent trips for personal reasons,” he wrote, according to the Daily Mail.
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