I am astonished at the many who ignore Freedom of Information Act requests. This happens at all levels of our government. The FOIA gives citizens the right to know, yet our public servants and now our military, often thumbs their noses. Judicial Watch has requested certain documents on the First Lady’s recent trip to Africa. Actually, Judicial Watch has had to sue for the information. The U.S. Air Force received the request on July 6, 2011 and were tasked with responding within 20 days. So far, there has been no response at all.
– Any and all records concerning mission taskings of First Lady Michelle Obama’s June 21-27, 2011 trip to South Africa and Botswana.
-Any and all records of concerning transportation costs for Mrs. Obama’s June 21-27 trip to South Africa and Botswana.
– Any and all passenger manifests (DD-2131) for Mrs. Obama’s June 21-27, 2011 trip to South Africa and Botswana.
Eyebrows raised when the Obama daughters, Michelle’s mother, niece and nephew went along on this trip to encourage “youth leadership, education, health and wellness” in Southern Africa.
The first lady brought along her mother, her daughters and two of their cousins – the children of her brother Craig Robinson.
“A visit to South Africa is important for them as a family,” said a spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in South Africa prior to the trip.
Air travel alone is estimated at $430,000. Add another $200,000 if a military air cargo plane also accompanied the family (as typically happens).
Other costs, such as Secret Service protection, the care and feeding of staff, and pre-trip advance work done by administration officials in Africa, cannot be determined without examining records.
“How much did the American people spend to send the First Lady on a family outing in Africa? That’s what we want to know,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “On the surface, the trip seems to have been totally unnecessary and was as much an excuse for the Obama family to go on a safari as it was a mission intended to advance the nation’s business in Africa.” Judicial Watch
You may remember that FOIAs revealed the appalling abuse of military aircraft for then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). In a two-year period she spent $2.1 Million for in-flight expenses. She toted family and friends all over the world. Her liquor and wine bill was staggering. Her children, grandchildren and husband traveled from Washington, D.C. to their California home without her.
We have the lawful right to issue FOIAs. I would like to know why those being petitioned have the right to ignore the request without consequences? We are a country which talks about right and wrong, and the punishment the wrong will receive, but in fact, when it comes to politicians, we are a country which yawns and moves on. We are no longer a nation of laws.