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.
7:04 AM, Jul 17, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Vice President Biden and his entourage visited Brazil in mid-June to attend the USA versus Ghana World Cup game, a trip that also included meetings with both the president and vice president of Brazil.
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.
12:00 AM, Aug 17, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
The antitrust lawyers I have served as a consultant often have the same complaint: Their clients don’t know when to shut up. This was certainly true of the executives of US Airways and American Airlines as they touted the virtues of their proposed $11 billion merger. US Airways president Scott Kirby reportedly said consolidation allows airlines to raise fees and charge for baggage, and the company’s CEO, Doug Parker spoke of the virtues of “rationalization,” which antitrust enforcers have always taken to mean higher prices and consumer harm. Now that the Justice Department has decided to sue to stop the merger, the airlines’ lawyers say these comments are taken out of context.
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.
2:45 PM, Mar 25, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
After two items last week on the cost of lodging for Vice President Joe Biden's early February trip to Europe, other news organizations began to investigate further.
'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.
The best is yet to be, with adjustments.Dec 31, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 16 • By ELISABETH EAVES
The word “epicurean” has come to describe those who are fond of luxury, sensual pleasure, and gourmet food.
Joseph Bottum, Friendly FlyerJul 25, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 42 • By JOSEPH BOTTUM
The man squeezing his way through to the window seat smells of manure. Not a bad, rotten smell, exactly. Just that faint, fresh odor that farmers can’t ever quite get rid of. “He smells funny,” announces the little girl waiting in the aisle, and everyone stares carefully down at the airplane’s industrial-blue carpet, pretending they didn’t hear.
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.
A visitor to Turkey discovers the truth beneath the stories. May 3, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 31 • By JAY WINTER
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