“Free Man In Paris”? Not Exactly . . . .

| March 26, 2013 | 28 Comments

Well, the VP visited Europe recently.  It was a 5 night trip.  He spent one night in London, and one night in Paris.

He stayed at very nice hotels – the Hyatt Regency in London, and the Hotel Intercontinental Paris Le Grand in Paris.  I won’t begrudge him that; after all, he is the VP of the United States.  And he did have to send an advance party, and bring security, staff, etc . . . .

But perhaps whoever booked his rooms needs to work on their negotiating skills.

Hotel cost for the VP’s London stay:  $459,388.65.  The sole-source contract was awarded non-competitively, and was for 136 rooms – and a total of 893 room-nights.  Average cost per room was somewhat over $510 per night.

And the hotel cost for the VP’s stay in Paris?  A cool $585,000.50.  Not as many details are available here, so it’s unclear precisely what the nightly cost per room really was.  But if the number of room-nights is the same, that works out to around $650 per night.

The above contracts appear to be for lodging only – no staff salaries, fuel, etc . . . .

Yeah, you’re reading that correctly.  That’s apparently over $1,044,000 for lodging alone to support the VP staying one night in London and one night in Paris.

In case anyone’s wondering:  the normal maximum authorized overseas lodging rate for US government travelers in London is $301 per night.  For Paris, $379 the normal maximum authorized is per night.  Exceptions exceeding this amount require special authorization.

Obviously, this is a case where an exception was authorized.  And yeah, the VP doesn’t just walk in and get a room for the night; security considerations nix that.

But it seems to me that you should be able to negotiate a nightly rate at least somewhere close to the maximum authorized for Federal travelers when booking a block of 130+ rooms including the POTUS or VP – like maybe within $50 or $100 per night, anyway.  Here, in each case it looks like the rate negotiated was at least $200 per night per room over that.

And 136 rooms?  Really?

But hey:  it’s the for the VP of the United States, so it’s cool.  And it’s only money, right?

Yeah, that last bit is kinda my point.  It’s the US taxpayer’s money.  Over $1 million for lodging alone so the VP can spend two nights overseas just seems a bit much.

 

PS:  it looks like the VP got around in style while he was in Paris, too.  His limo bill for the stay appears to have been $321,665.

He’s got nothing on his boss, though.  According to the same article, when the POTUS visited Cannes in November 2011 for the Cannes Film Festival the limo bill there was estimated to cost $731,938 – with a “not to exceed” limit of $1,400,000.

That visit to Cannes by the POTUS lasted approximately 36 hours.

Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work", Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Economy

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  1. NHSparky says:

    I know firsthand how expensive hotels in Paris and London can run, but $650/night? Seriously?

    I can refer the Veep to a really nice place in London in Knightsbridge right behind Harrod’s, and it’ll run less than half that, tops.

  2. Sadly, this crap ain’t new or news. Royalty don’t need no stinking budgets.

  3. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    First, when in France, I hope The Moron tried to speak French. He would be the laughing stock there that he is here. Second, when in England, I hope The Moron tried to speak English–for the same reason.

  4. The Dead Man says:

    #3 Learned to speak French? I’m surprised the drunkard realized he was in France, I’d bet money he couldn’t find it on a map without whoever normally holds his leash pointing it out to him.

    Wonder how much they’d travel if they had to pay out of pocket.

  5. Eric says:

    And of course, whenever GW did something as simple as go play golf, he’d get bashed by the MSM for going on “vacation” so much. I think Obama went on holiday more in his first two years than GW did in 8.

    It is one thing for them to have higher costs to go places, but if they are going somewhere for appearances or just to stop in for a night, how the Frack is it we’re paying for them? I’d bet if Obama said, “Hollywood should pay for my travel visits” those elitists would be crawling over each other to do it.

  6. Gravel says:

    I’m curious … say a special envoy of some type or a Prime Minister or President from another country visits here and plans to meet with the President or Vice President (or other high ranking official.) Who takes care of his security detail, and room and board, and limo fees? Who pays for that? Because I seem to remember reading an article that we do, at least in part. Like local NYPD or Washing DC Metro officers on overtime to run traffic control points etc, etc.

    Anyone have an idea?

  7. Gravel says:

    *Washington (typo)

  8. Arby says:

    What torques me off is that none of these clowns have ever bothered to open up their flights to space-a travelers. What an opportunity to show you “care” about the troops.

  9. Kenneth says:

    One would think that in a country like Britain the US embassy or ambassador’s residence would have the facilities to host a visit like this.

  10. Gravel says:

    @8 and @9

    Both good points.

  11. David says:

    Man, I wish I had a million dollars given to me every time I wanted to go visit a foreign country. I had a buddy visit Paris just a little while ago. She managed to spend a couple weeks there for a few thousand.

  12. OWB says:

    Can someone explain the utter lack of outrage over this? It was not long ago that we heard all out criticism of Bush for visiting his own ranch, costing relatively little taxpayer $$. Yet this waste goes unnoticed??

    Oh. Forgot for a minute that those complaining then see the world exclusively through their political prism. Evidently having a standard which applies to all is a concept with which the left is unfamiliar.

    Surprise, surprise.

  13. Flagwaver says:

    The term “let them eat cake” comes to mind. We’re sending 1 billion to Pakistan, Syria, and Egypt during sequester; the VP is spending a million for two nights in Europe; the President sent his daughters and their SS staff to Atlantis Resort for Spring Break. Yeah, but we can’t have tours and it took a special action of Congress for our service members to keep their CONTRACTUALLY OBLIGATED tuition assistance.

  14. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @12 They never stop looking through that prism.

    The left is very forgiving of the crimes, corruption and incompetence of those who share their dogma. It’s why any democrat who takes responsibility knows there will be repercussions because the taking of responsibility is nothing more than a statement. There is no loss of job or position, and there are countless examples of that in recent memory. Holder takes responsibility for fast and furious decisions….so what? He keeps his job and an underling is removed from an “acting” director position to a senior adviser position…wow serious punishments indeed….

    It’s hard to take them seriously on any issue when they show such a willingness to overlook matters that involve culpability in murders. I have many, many such examples dating back decades. There is nothing new in forgiving sh1theads, by either party, but the left seems to take it to an entirely stratospheric level.

  15. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Should say “be no repercussions”

  16. Hondo says:

    Flagwaver: unfortunately, like many other things providing tuition assistance isn’t a binding contractual obligation. It’s “subject to availability” – in TA’s case, availability of funds.

    Ask a military retirees from the 1960s and 1970s about their “guaranteed” medical care that was actually “subject to availability”.

  17. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    I Hate the French!

  18. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Political gamesmanship was involved in the TA removal/reduction and the white house tours.

    There was no real intent to save any money anywhere. The president was grandstanding to make a point. Instead of saying that the sequester would impact everyone they chose highly visible programs and segments of the population/workforce that most Americans would find objectionable.

    I believe this was an error in judgment on their part and may yet prove problematic if someone on the right has the testicular fortitude to point out that even though they intended to screw our service men and women out of their TA the government was continuing to hire another 2200 bureaucrats every month.

    Even at half the average US yearly income a hiring freeze would save over $4 million a month in the first month alone not to mention if it lasted for 6 months it would save $27 million in that last month…almost $90 million saved over 6 months…that should cover some TA and a couple of tours…even a 50% hiring freeze would have helped. But the reality is no one sees a few thousand bureaucrats more or less…thus no political grandstanding opportunity, no chance to fool the public into thinking that the Republicans were responsible…the President is not a great leader making tough choices, he is a great campaigner who is always putting on a show for the faithful.

    At the end of this second term, the reality of great showmanship versus great leadership will be readily apparent.

  19. What a flippin’ waste of MY money. I would suppose that some of those many rooms rented was so that they could empty them for security reasons. They could have rented a helluva nice Chalet or country manor for much less and had better security. Ain’t no way in hell that the entourage, large as it may be, took that many rooms; even including one or two for his “Hair Club for Men” beauticians.

  20. JBS says:

    Why can’t he just stay on the billion dollar plane? It seems to have everything he needs. And it is probably safer, parked in a secure hanger. I think he wanted the reward points.

  21. Ex-PH2 says:

    And he didn’t even send postcards.

  22. Devtun says:

    Komrad VP Josef Bidenov is gonna enjoy his executive perks that the office affords while he still can. The VP is his ceiling. With that wretched witch Hillary almost certainly running for the 2016 Dem nomination (probably getting Barry’s endorsement)…things look grim for Biteme the clown.

  23. Ex-PH2 says:

    He stayed one night each in Paris and London and spent $1 million plus on hotel rooms.

    Well, what did he do while he was there? I was in London for one month when I was in college, I spent far less than that, and went all over the cotton-pickin’ city on a photo shoot as my student project.

    If you ever go to London, go to Garfunkel’s in Oxford Circus. Their menu is online. They do have hamburgers and cheeseburgers, and classic fish and chips.

  24. Common Sense says:

    Ah, for the days of John Adams and Ben Franklin when they paid their own way to represent our country. Service just doesn’t have the same meaning for politicians these days, does it?

    I really want to know why Obama needed to take 600 people with him to Israel. 600!!??!!

  25. UpNorth says:

    “I don’t always stay overnight in Paris and London, my friend. But, when I do, I spend your money”.

  26. WOTN says:

    A Limo bill? for two people whose limo is flown in? No, the Secret Service is not going to trust some local limo company with driving the Veep and POTUS around. They fly in the limo tanks from DC.

    136 rooms? I’ll go with the earlier commenter who pointed out that the Embassy grounds is the safer place for a visiting Veep/POTUS. I suspect both the Brits and the Frogs DO have a special, secure residence for visiting heads of state. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Brits would put one up in Windsor Palace for that matter, though they’d probably have guards to keep Joe Biteme away from the Royals.

    136 rooms? I would expect that at least the Secret Service double bunked in rooms, but even if they didn’t I can’t come up with 135 people that need to be in a hotel that expensive, and there damn sure shouldn’t be “empty rooms.” Those should be filled with Secret Service, if the staff aren’t trustworthy enough to sleep in the room next door to Bitem. The staff? Well, they could sleep in the Best Western down the road. Those are actually pretty good in Europe.

  27. WOTN says:

    A Limo bill? for two people whose limo is flown in? No, the Secret Service is not going to trust some local limo company with driving the Veep and POTUS around. They fly in the limo tanks from DC.

    136 rooms? I’ll go with the earlier commenter who pointed out that the Embassy grounds is the safer place for a visiting Veep/POTUS. I suspect both the Brits and the Frogs DO have a special, secure residence for visiting heads of state. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Brits would put one up in Windsor Palace for that matter, though they’d probably have guards to keep Joe Biteme away from the Royals.

    136 rooms? I would expect that at least the Secret Service double bunked in rooms, but even if they didn’t I can’t come up with 135 people that need to be in a hotel that expensive, and there damn sure shouldn’t be “empty rooms.” Those should be filled with Secret Service, if the staff aren’t trustworthy enough to sleep in the room next door to Bitem. The staff? Well, they could sleep in the Best Western down the road. Those are actually pretty good in Europe.

    Sequester means you should be leaving everyone at home that isn’t mission essential Biteme. You probably invited the college age daughters of all your friends, didn’t you?

  28. NHSparky says:

    PH2–nah, if you want the best fish and chips in London, there’s a place called the Seashell not far from Marylebone Station.

    I found it hard to get excited over Brit cuisine (ex and I ate at the Hard Rock TWICE first time we were there if that tells you anything) but this place was really good and reasonably priced.

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