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Costs for Obama trips top $44m, over $10m alone in Africa

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Judicial Watch,Africa,Air Force One

The still-evolving “official” tab for the Obama family vacation to Africa in 2013 has reached $10.3 million, with the government coughing up official new expense details of over $2 million, according to a government watchdog group.

Judicial Watch Inc. on Thursday revealed that the Department of Homeland Security provided new documents detailing $2,189,727.60 in lodging, entertainment and security costs for the first family's U.S. Secret Service entourage.

According to the documents, for example, simply providing hotel rooms for the Secret Service during the seven-day excursion cost $953,788.18. And even though they cancelled a safari for the first family in Tanzania, the Secret Service spent over $11,000 to prepare for it.

So far, the government has provided Judicial Watch with documents accounting for $10,293,951.60 in officials costs for the Africa trip, including Air Force One flight time, car rentals, and some hotel fees. Missing are the costs of housing the first family and staff, costs of prepositioning armored limos and helicopters, and other travel expenses.

Media reports have pegged the total bill of the extravagant June 27-July 3 trip at $60 million-$100 million. Judicial Watch has been charting the costs of presidential travel for years.

Over the president’s time in office, they have documented official Obama trip costs at $44,351,777.12.

“The Obamas clearly either do not understand the value of a dollar — or understand it all too well when someone else is picking up the tab,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Keep in mind that this outrageously lavish excursion came at the very same time that the president was shutting down White House tours and blaming it on the sequester. As one congressional critic noted at the time, the White House could have 1,350 weeks of tours for the cost of the Obama family’s trip to Africa.”

The documents the watchdog received came as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests.

Editor's note: Judicial Watch is representing the Washington Examiner in the newspaper's federal lawsuit seeking access to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau records under FOIA.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.