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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Obama's Daughters As "Senior Staff"

The trip cost over $400,000 of taxpayers' money.

From this source:
How much does it cost taxpayers to fly First Lady Michelle Obama, her two daughters and her mother, a niece and a nephew, a hairstylist and makeup artists to South Africa and Botswana to give a few speeches, meet Nelson Mandela, and enjoy a safari on a private game preserve?

Nearly half a million dollars, according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) concerning Obama's June 21-27 journey.

Judicial Watch said the U.S. Air Force provided a C-32 - a Boeing 757 modified by the military for the purpose of flying big-wigs around the world - to fly the First Lady and her entourage to and from Africa, at a cost of $424,142. Another $928.44 was listed as the cost of providing 192 meals for the 21 people who made the trip

The Obama daughters were listed on the manifest as "senior staff."...
I have no printable commentary.


  1. If they were 'senior staff' did they get paid?

  2. Actually this makes sense most of the Admin's policy are childlike in conception and/or implementation.

  3. Blogginator, wish there was a "Like" button for your comment!

  4. FLOTUS was always an "unpaid" position... but I had heard that Michelle wanted a salary... I never heard what became of that issue... maybe they're paying her now as "senior staff."

  5. "I have no printable commentary."

    Indeed, what can one say in the face of such bald-faced gall?

  6. Where does one draw the line? How much of these expenses are legitimate and how much are unethical and/or illegal?

    Yes, it's nauseating to think that our taxes are paying for this kind of thing, but unfortunately, until politicians get a sense of responsibility and hold themselves accountable, these kinds of things are simply "perks of the job".

    All Presidents enjoy these perks, and as distasteful as it is personally to me, it is what it is.

    However, there should be investigations into the legitimacy of some of these expenses.

    To me, the part of the report that raises concern is not only the designation of the daughters as "senior staff", but also that Judicial Watch had to sue to get the information, which indicates to me there is some malfeasance afoot.

  7. @The Absolute Marxist.
    Could it be that they are so 'audacious'to put themselves on the White house bill as 'senior staff'?

  8. @ Will - I don't think so... Likley it's just a "classification" related to access, as some areas might be off-limits to all but "senior staff."

  9. It seems that spreading the wealth around has a brand new meaning. Also, now we understand where Obama gets his childish ideas.

  10. Everyday the Obama administration gives us so much to complain about yet how little is leaked out to the media. Outrageous.

    Senior staff indeed. Those dullard brats couldn't be forced to show interest over anything, much less an issue involving the peons around them.

  11. The only reason we know about it is
    The documents made public by Judicial Watch... and do not include the total of all costs for the First Lady's trip, such as expenses for security, transportation on the ground and so forth. They fought long and hard for the info. How much will we never know.

  12. You wouldn't deprive the Emperor his due would you.

  13. Odie, I wouldn't give any of them air if they were in a jug.

  14. Cube makes an excellent point:

    Everyday the Obama administration gives us so much to complain about yet how little is leaked out to the media.

    I can't imagine, however, that the media are totally unaware. Rather, the media serve as the Obama administration's Ministry of Truth (Orwell).

  15. From today's Telegraph (UK):

    Although ignored by most of America’s liberal-dominated media, several online US news sites are reporting that Michelle Obama’s grand tour of southern Africa earlier this year cost American taxpayers nearly half a million dollars – and that's just for the flights. This follows in the wake of claims this August from sources inside the White House itself that the First Lady may have spent “$10 million of taxpayers’ money on vacations alone in the past year.”...

    More at the above link.

  16. As long as the girls don't get a salary I don't care how they list them. Perhaps it was a security thing, rather than listing the girls on the manifest. I don't really know.

    The amount this first lady has spent on herself and her family is outrageous, especially when she dares to tell everyone else how to live their lives.

    Right Truth

  17. I see no issue here and consider this just another "Obama bashing" excercise. The travel of a Head of State and/or their family is an excercise in diplomacy and the return value is something that cannot be put in monetary terms. Also, as PoliFact points out, if there is a private visit element that cannot be covered or passed along as being official, the Obamas pay for it themselves, not the US tax-payer.

    There are enough issues regarding the Obama Administration such as economics, social and justice policies that merits hard scrutiny and I find it simply "silly" to try and do point scoring on this subject because it detracts from the more real and important issues. I really wonder what would be the responses to a similar crack at a GOP First Lady visit on a pro-Democratic blog?

    Just my honest opinion, of course.

  18. Sorry, I should have added that Larry Llayman's creation called Judicial Watch has always been more about making a scandal to promote themselves than any actual scandal and I wonder if was an inspiration for that Aussie ego-maniac owner of Wikileaks....

  19. Little misdirection play to deflect from today's news?

    President Obama has decided to issue a waiver allowing continued U.S. military aid to four countries that use child soldiers for the second consecutive year. The Obama administration says it will waive penalties under the Child Soldiers Prevention Act to prevent a cutoff of military assistance to Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Yemen. According to Foreign Policy magazine, National Security Council Senior Director Samantha Power had promised NGOs last year that the waivers would not be renewed, saying the administration would exert pressure by "[working] from inside the tent."

  20. Lol! You guys will believe anything!!

  21. Sheesh, Cheney's company Hallibutron made billions an war created solely to make him richer. And hundreds of thousands died.

    And you complain about a diplomatic trip? I guess it's ok if your intention is to kill innocents.

  22. Fraud waste and abuse.

  23. If this was an intentional attempt to pass the kids as "senior staff" to avoid paying for them it's fraud and it's illegal.

    I realize Bd is okay with a FL breaking the law, that part I get. What I am confused about is where she keeps coming up with this Cheney and Haliburton killed hundreds of thousands of people.

  24. Again?

    Obama to hit the road again

    (CNN) - President Barack Obama is headed out on another bus tour, according to new information from a White House official. The president’s second such tour since taking office will bring him through North Carolina and Virginia – two states he won in 2008 that promise to be crucial states on any path to victory in 2012.

    Although the specific stops are still unknown, the official confirmed that the tour will take place from Oct. 17 to Oct. 19, and will primarily focus on urging Congress to pass the president’s jobs proposal, the American Jobs Act. If the itinerary of this trip is anything similar to the president’s August bus tour through the Midwest, it will likely be chock-full of “off the record” retail campaign stops, informal meetings with small groups of voters, as well as larger campaign-style rallies and town hall meetings.

    Didn't BHO get the memo from Harry Reid -- the memo that the Senate will not consider the jobs bill?

  25. D Charles,
    It may be "Obama bashing."

    But "silly"?

    Not in my view.

    The strikes of all types are mounting up against Obama.

    Voters are strange birds. One never knows what will tip voters into casting ballots the way they do. Just look at how Obama won in 2008! Any thinking person should have been able to see that he was unprepared for the job of President of the United States.

  26. Debbie,
    The amount this first lady has spent on herself and her family is outrageous, especially when she dares to tell everyone else how to live their lives.

    And that is the crux of the matter, isn't it?

    The aura of elitism that the Obama family projects, particularly during these times of economic disaster, is disgusting. No wonder we see caricatures of Michelle Obama as Marie Antoinette!

  27. Bd,
    I've criticized Republicans too.

    Get a clue -- or shut up.

  28. AOW, Get a clue -- or shut up.

    I have asked Bd more than once, here and other blogs, to back up statements like Chaney and Haliburton killed hundreds of thousands. All I've heard is crickets chirping. Just another far-left bomb thrower. Yawn.

  29. Yes, they get paid. And it comes out of the tax payers money. This is beyond ridiculous.

    He should have no right to choose his daughters as senior staff. Are they letting other kids in on the staff too? Or are his children the most special people in the world?

  30. I was a little concerned when I saw that thinking that putting such a designation on Michelle's grils would mean the Obama family would not have to pay their air fare.

    I'm still not sure they did reimburse the government for their travel.

    But I beleive the designation as "senior staff" was made for seating arrangements on the plane.

    Still, Michelle's big spending on what amounts to personal vacations for her and her family and friends has got to set a new record.

    Let any Republican First Lady do this and it would be a front page scandal.

  31. Imagine what the media'd have done to Bush's daughters had they been listed as SENIOR STAFF?

    The Halliburton situation will never be understood by those uncurious enough for the truth. Gad, it sounds so stupid, doesn't it.
    Then we have Morgan Freeman and Sam. L Jackson calling Republicans racists because ...wait...they'd vote for ALan West or Herman Cain TOMORROW? :-)
    what kind of minds do leftists have, anyway??

    Bd...get educated; it's getting embarrassing, honestly!

  32. Thanks Ducky you are correct that we can not possibly keep up with all of that is being to erode our freedoms and liberties by these liberals aka communists. It is a full time shovel ready job. My hope is that more and more americans are waking up to the reality of the size and scope of government and that they will continue to be critical for decades to come regardless of the political party.

  33. Chuck,
    And I running out of patience, too.

  34. Debbie,
    As long as the girls don't get a salary I don't care how they list them. Perhaps it was a security thing, rather than listing the girls on the manifest.

    Nonetheless, the doings and the attitudes of the Obamas is one of in your face and it's our turn now. People who are truly struggling in this ailing economy (I'm not referring to the Wall Street agitators) are growing weary of the elitism, particularly on the part of so-called elected public servants.

  35. As some are eluding to, the issue of "senior staff" is a no-brainer. It has either to do with sitting arrangements or security and I am CERTAIN that the Bush daughters would have been categorised the same. Also saying that the Dem's would have made a big scandal of it really makes one wonder why then are those here doing the same? It is simply political point scoring.

    Mike questions the costs of the First Lady's travels and yes it should be watched and scrutinized, it should be pointed out that he is from the GOP and I wonder if he (with all respect because I like many of his comments) would put the same scrutiny on a GOP First Lady? The reality is that there are a number of sub-Committees and of course the media/punditry that are actually doing just that.

    I would be more interested in his views about a certain Supreme Court Judge and his politician wife (GOP) and the subject of conflict of interest. Yes the Dems are making a scene (somewhat like I am sure Republicans would do if the tables were returned) but is that not a more important issue that the budget level of the First Lady's travels abroad which is encouraged/supported by the US Department of State?

    Stick to more serious issues that are worth criticizing....

  36. Chirp, chirp...Lol. Good post QC. It's all deflection with wingnuts.

  37. This is fraud! Plain and simple.

    And what? Is she so inept that she is incapable of styling her own hair and applying her own makeup? What the bloody hell?!

    How many trips is this woman going to take? How much more money are the taxpayers going to have to fork out to keep her highness happy?

  38. D Charles,
    In some quick research I've done, I found that Chelsea Clinton and the Bush twins traveled. I have no idea as to how they were listed on any manifesto. At the time, there was criticism, I believe.

    Stick to more serious issues that are worth criticizing....

    You and I have discussed this issue before.

    My blog, my choices of what to post.

  39. Leticia,
    Quite an entourage traveled on this little vacation that Michelle Obama et al took to Africa -- in the midst of the budget debate, for which Obama clearly laid all blame on the GOP.

  40. AOW,

    When I make comments like "Stick to more serious issues that are worth criticizing.... " it is not a criticism of directed personally at you but one part of the blogosphere in question AS WELL AS expressing my view on the topic.


    For example, though I like Leticia's blog and I make regular comments (and we seem to get on fine), I will STRONGLY question why she has made the comment "This is fraud! Plain and simple". For a start it is neither plain nor is it simple. Is the manifest a legal document for accounting costs? That is presuming, of course, that the original claim is in fact correct. Also it is not simple, assuming that it is not an accountable document, the need to protect the children of the Head of State may warrent placing them under the category "senior staff" to ensure a level of priority.

    As AOW said, she has no idea at all about the status given on flights of previous dependants and admitted that there has been criticism before, mostly on part of costs.

    I understand that there can be an argument regarding the overal expense but over the years you will find that one President, Prime Minister, Chancellor or Chairman will chose to do more overseas travel and some less and be expensive in another area, what bothers me is why we are concentrating on this issue at all (because it is mostly assumption) instead of the more definable ones that do merit targetting.

    Please, I have an old-school style with my comments being simply one style of expression of an opinion.

  41. D Charles,
    The blogosphere is a strange place.

    Frankly, some of what I post is not material for journalism.

    I'm not taking your comments personally. Just tired these days -- and worried about the state of the world.

  42. What I fail to understand how she has the audacity to keep making these extravagant trips knowing full well this nation is in crisis?

    DC, I called it, "fraud" because it is. Why did she not claim her children? Everyone is fully aware that her daughters travel with her. What was the purpose?

    Honestly, I really don't care who she is with. I am just tired of her using the Air Force as her own personal chauffeur, and spending our tax dollars on her trips.

  43. Leticia, I am a lawyer.

    It is impossible with the details known if there is a fraud, there is no evidence. Do you know what the policies, regulations and entitlements are for the travel of the First Family?

    We can argue about the costs, the necessity and prudence of such a trip at the present time, but then I would add that the argument is also with the State Department and not just the White House. Such trips are almost always a long-planned visit and do not forget that they are in fact mostly through invitation from the country in question - including the costs associated with it. I should point out that when not accompanying the President, they also do not use Air Force One which is exclusively available to the President (because of security reasons).

    I do not want to harp on the issue but fraud, absolutely not on the cards unless one can prove otherwise from evidence.

    Also I should add that I find a pattern in many blogs that target Obama (rightly or wrongly), that there is an assumption that your country has bad, negligent or in fact a pathetic judical, auditing and administrative system. I say that because you would imagine that the most scrutinized family on the planet somehow can fiddle-the-books and commit fraud. For goodness sakes, Obama cannot even light a cigarette without getting blasted in the media. Like the pathetic "birther" game, it ultimately makes the accuser look stupid and is a slap in the face of the hard-working civil servants, judicial and administrative employees who ensure that everything is correctly done. I guess I have more confidence that America is a first world and "great country" than you guys seem to.

    That is why I say stick to subjects that we have obviously data and justification to criticise about, such as the effort and direction of improving the economy, social cohesion and leadership of the disaster of a Congress you have.

  44. put down the law books for a moment and reread leticia's post. The problem is not whether or not this trip along with the dozens of others are lawful but the perception that the O family is living it up while people are struggling to put food on the table, gas in the car, and a roof over their heads. I thought Republicans were supposed to be the insensitive ones but apparently not.

    Democrats get more than fair treatment from their media hacks. The blogosphere is the only place not controlled be the media whores who serve at the feet of their masters the DNC.

  45. blogginator,

    and reread my comment where I say the word "fraud" that was used is wrong AND that I say :

    "We can argue about the costs, the necessity and prudence of such a trip at the present time,....".

    To be honest, it is a sure bet that it is more to do with the role that State Department wants them to play than "living it up" and the hype is simply a part of the "get rid of Obama" collective effort. I find this topic actually a political no-brainer.

  46. I see mentions of the State Department and their involvement. I would like to point out that control of the State Department was listed as a primary objective in the founding minutes of the Carnegie Foundation as exposed in the Reece Committee of 1952.

    When the supporters of Marxism started infiltrating our country, the State Department was Ground Zero.

    linking this btw,

  47. It was I who mentioned the State Department and it was on the subject of their use of the First Family in their activites overseas.

    I doubt very much that the travel of the First Family is some marxist plot and, frankly speaking, the thought of some marxist or communist plot smacks of the McCarthiesm of old and and is only now pushed as part of the "take down Obama" campaign.

    Personaly it still comes down to the same thing - the Right in America should be concentrating on offering alternatives, an actual potential leader (instead of the disaster of candidates up for offer) and not damage their chances by looking like complainers and spoilers. IE - they should concentrate on winning the election the legitimate way by concentrating on themselves instead on Obama.

    As for Marxism, I am a Brit and if you guys in America think you know what marxism, socialism or communism then think again. What you call a socialist Democratic party is about as over here centre-right - try having a regular union-financed/controlled British Labour Party run the government for countless years. Marxist - not even a chance in America. Communist - a dream.

    The American psychie is unable to handle real socialism or marxism as the people will automatically reject it. That is why your version of socialism in America is unique. You mention the word Rino, I would argue that the rest of the socialists on the planet would consider the Democrats "socialist in name only".

    Real marxists and socialists would have already nationalised your banks and remove the health insurance industry into a singular semi-government-run fund. They would offer a higher minimum wage and then ensure you are all remain on it.

  48. D Charles,
    the Right in America should be concentrating on offering alternatives, an actual potential leader (instead of the disaster of candidates up for offer) and not damage their chances by looking like complainers and spoilers

    I'm not sure that the present field of GOP candidates is as terrible as you mentioned. However, I've been saying for a long, long time that the GOP has neglected "the farm system" (Are you familiar with that baseball term?)

    In my view, the GOP keeps yearning for another Ronald Reagan. Well, another Ronald Reagan doesn't exist.

    The above said, we may have reached the 1980 tipping point, whereby anyone the GOP runs against Obama will win. But a winner is not necessarily an effective leader.

    Real marxists and socialists would have already...remove the health insurance industry into a singular semi-government-run fund.

    We may be getting there sooner than any of us realize. I believe that the health industry is going to crash within a few short years. I can explain why later if you want my reasons for so thinking.

    I doubt very much that the travel of the First Family is some marxist plot

    My objections to the Obamas' extravagance and waste stem from their hypocrisy ("Shared sacrifice," my foot!) and sense of entitlement. Their it's-our-turn-now attitude is grating -- to say the least.

    I didn't post about Michelle Obama's staged trip to Target. But I tell you this: watching the local news here in the D.C. area fawn all over "Michelle Obama is one of us. She shops at Target!" drove me up the wall. Now, of course, it has been exposed that the shopping trip was nothing more than a photo op. Any low class moron knows full well that Michelle Obama, like any First Lady, doesn't shop where the masses shop. Sheesh.


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