8:07 AM, Aug 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Biden's trip to Brazil in mid-June for the USA versus Ghana World Cup game and meetings the following day with the president and vice president of Brazil required rental of vehicles for Biden and his entourage costing over $900,000. Added to the $2.2 million cost of hotels we reported a few weeks ago, the total costs of local lodging and transportation for the trip topped $3.1 million.
The documents indicate two companies were used for vehicles and drivers:
The $908,147 estimate far outstrips the $321,665 spent in February 2013 for a vice presidential trip to Paris. The documents for the World Cup trip do not contain enough details to explain why the cost for this trip is comparatively high, but asserts that the "anticipated cost to the Government will be fair and reasonable" and that the rates are comparable to "the rates charged for similar services during this season." The documents that accompanied the Brazil hotel contract posting noted that due to the World Cup, hotel rates were up anywhere from 75 to 365 percent, but a similar statement is not included in the vehicle documents.
The State Department, the agency that handles arrangements for VIP trips, explained the reasons for the short notice and lack of full competition in awarding the contracts:
Security and logistics are the Department of State’s primary considerations when procuring vehicles rental. The Department of State must be able to provide a safe and secure vendor for VIP visitors. Frequently VIP visits are not announced or confirmed in sufficient time to conduct a competition, creating an urgent and compelling need.
The two companies chosen were able to handle communications requirements and were accommodating to the security needs of the vice president's entourage.
Plus a $1 million car rental tab.11:20 AM, Jun 11, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In late March of this year, President Obama stayed in Brussels, Belgium for about 24 hours on a weeklong trip through Europe. Lodging at The Hotel in Brussels cost $1.5 million, as we reported in April, including rooms for the president and his entourage, as well as for the advance team in the weeks preceding the visit.
12:02 PM, Apr 4, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
In late March, President Obama took a week-long trip through Europe which included a stop of less than 24 hours in Brussels, Belgium for meetings with the European Union and NATO.
6:47 AM, Feb 7, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Documents recently released by the government show that the value of hotels and local transportation contracts for the U.S. delegation to Nelson Mandela's funeral in December were considerably higher than previous estimates. On December 19, we first reported the cost at about $11 million. However, rather than two hotels and one vehicle contractor, additional contracts have been disclosed bringing the total to five hotels and two vehicle contractors.
9:58 AM, Jul 17, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Biden spent only about 20 hours in Trinidad and Tobago on his recent six day trip through South America and the Caribbean, but the hotel bill for the vice president, his entourage and the advance team came in at about $245,000 for an estimated 1,134 room nights. As is typically the case with VIP travel, the contract was awarded without the usual "full and open competition" due to security and logistical concerns:
In Copenhagen, $430,285.70 for hotel and $200,629 for limousines.9:53 AM, Jun 29, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The Washington Times reports that the cost of Obama's Africa trip, estimated as high as $100 million, is overshadowing President Obama's agenda. If past VIP trips are any indication, lodging and local transportation would represent only a fraction of the $100 million, yet those costs would likely still dwarf those of the average citizen traveling abroad. In late March, Vice President Joe Biden's $321,000 limo bill and $585,000 Paris hotel bill for his trip to Europe earlier this year were revealed.
1:35 PM, May 1, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
As the White House first announced in March, Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Mexico and Costa Rica later this week. The trip is billed as "an important opportunity to reinforce the deep cultural, familial, and economic ties that so many Americans share with Mexico and Central America." And at yesterday’s White House press conference, the president stated that he is "very much looking forward to taking the trip down to Mexico" this week.
'Approximately 136 hotel rooms for 893 room nights.'9:46 AM, Mar 22, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Biden and his entourage spent a little time in London in early February during his first foreign trip of the second term of the Obama administration.
Reporter is feted at lavish hotel, writes about lavish experience. Does it get any better?2:05 PM, Jul 26, 2010 • By VICTORINO MATUS
Travel writing can be tough, despite what you might think. You're jotting down notes about the beautiful sunset, rather than just watching it. Coming up with the right words is a constant struggle. And still I wonder with great envy how Toni Bentley, a ballerina and author, landed the plum assignment of reviewing the Royal Mansour hotel in Marrakech, Morocco, for the Wall Street Journal, which, according to her description, sounds like the most opulent and extravagant hotel in the world.
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