Vice President Joe Biden is being investigated for using government property to vacation. According to a Washington Post report on Tuesday, other Obama administration officials have used the same facility, the Brinkerhoff lodge, at a National Park with family and possibly friends, as well. The venue used for vacationing at taxpayers’ expense is located in Grand Teton National Park. The site is located on Jackson Lake – a cozy getaway from the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C. While no one wants to start nagging about government officials over-vacationing again, the concern here is that it appears these persons vacationed and didn’t pay for it. American taxpayers did.
According to the report, this particular property was banned approximately 20 years ago by the National Park Service and is to be used for nothing other than official use. That is why an investigation has begun. It has been reported by Zeke Miller of Time magazine that there are questions about Vice President Joe Biden’s time spent there – as well as several of President Barack Obama’s cabinet secretaries, including Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Ray LaHood who is the former Transportation Secretary. The Time piece on the story is bluntly titled “Joe Biden, Top Obama Officials get cheap Family Vacations at Federal Log Cabin.”
The investigation into Biden and others vacationing at the government’s lodge is whether these Obama administration officials need to reimburse the government for their extended stays with family and friends. For example, it is questioned if Biden was doing official business for the American taxpayers when he was accompanied by 11 family members for four nights in August of this year. Additionally, a public daily guidance announced that Biden was traveling to the National Park in Wyoming for four days with his wife.
However, the logging of that travel did not include any public events or further details showing that Biden was doing any work for the government or the American people. Duncan and LaHood also stayed for several nights on separate occasions on government facilities. In all circumstances, non-governmental guests are required to pay their own way. The Daily News and Free Republic are creatively and appropriately calling the story “Park-gate” – a twist on the name of the original gate, Watergate.
Also at issue is that the documentation gotten through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that the park service never even billed these officials for their vacations – nor did they keep official records of the vacations. After being caught and questioned about their family vacations without cost, Biden, Duncan, and LaHood have said they will pay up – if they get a bill. Biden’s office claims that it had inquired about the cost of renting the lodge for personal use, but allegedly had never paid anything.
A National Parks Service spokesperson, April Slayton, said a review of compliance with the policy is being conducted. The park is supposedly seeking reimbursement for the Biden, Duncan, and LaHood. American taxpayers can thank Time’s Zeke Miller keeping Vice President Joe Biden and other Obama officials honest by making them pay for their vacations on government property. While many – if not most – Americans cannot afford a vacation, it is disturbing to know these obviously well-to-do government officials are vacationing for free. Lord knows, they can well-afford to pay for their vacations.