Published April 26, 2012
First lady Michelle Obama's 2010 trip to Spain cost taxpayers nearly $470,000, according to a conservative watchdog group that obtained Secret Service records from the overseas excursion.
That trip, which the first lady took with her younger daughter Sasha, drew widespread criticism at the time -- as the visuals of the first lady in an elegant Mediterranean setting clashed with the still-struggling U.S. economy.
Judicial Watch, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request, claimed Thursday that documents show the trip cost at least $467,585.
Those costs are split between Secret Service expenses and expenses for the flight and flight crew.
Secret Service costs totaled nearly $255,000, according to Judicial Watch.
Based on Pentagon estimates of flight costs, another $199,000 went toward the flight from the United States to Mallorca and back. On top of that were various expenses for the 15-person flight crew. They stayed at a local motel at a cost of roughly $10,000, according to Judicial Watch, in addition to money spent on rental cars and food.
A representative from the first lady's office has not yet responded to a request for comment from FoxNews.com.
At the time of the Spanish getaway, the White House described the vacation as a private trip and said the first lady and others would be paying their own expenses.
But while the first lady is not technically an elected official, any trip away from Washington comes with inevitable costs borne by the taxpayer -- such as Secret Service protection. The same was true for previous first ladies.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton invoked the recent scandal involving the General Services Administration's costly conference in the Las Vegas area in chastising the president's family for the trip.
"The American people can ill afford to keep sending the First Family on vacations around the globe," he said in a written statement. "There needs to be greater sensitivity to the costs borne by taxpayers for these personal trips. It is hypocritical for President Obama to fire GSA officials for wasteful conference spending, while his family went on a luxury vacation in the Costa del Sol Spain that cost taxpayers nearly half a million dollars."