From Time Magazine:
Joe Biden, Top Obama Officials Get Cheap Family Vacations at Federal Log Cabin
Vice President Joe Biden, his wife and 11 other family members spent four nights on vacation this August at a lakeside log cabin overlooking the snowcapped peaks of Mount Moran in Grand Teton National Park.
The four-bedroom Brinkerhoff Lodge, where they stayed, is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Under a policy adopted in 1992, after controversy over VIPs using the cabin for vacations, the National Park Service banned purely recreational activities by federal employees at the property, restricting its use to “official purposes.” But in recent years, the park service has interpreted that same rule so broadly as to again allow senior officials to take cheap vacations in Grand Teton with friends and family.
While visiting the park, Biden held no events, kept no public schedule, and his staff initially declined to answer a reporter’s question about where he spent the night. Last week, after TIME uncovered documents confirming his stay at the lodge, Biden’s office said the Vice President planned to personally reimburse the park $1,200 for “renting the Brinkerhoff” for his family’s vacation.
And it gets better:
Biden is not the only senior member of the Obama Administration who has taken advantage of the Brinkerhoff in recent years for family vacations or getaways with friends. Records obtained by TIME through the Freedom of Information Act show that at least four cabinet-level officials, a deputy White House chief of staff and the director of the Park Service have made use of the lodge with friends and family since 2011.
- Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson stayed three nights in 2011 with her husband, and five other people, including a person listed as a friend. She received a tour of a new air quality monitoring station, according to a park official.
- Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood traveled there in 2012 for eight nights with his wife, his daughter-in-law, three grandchildren, two other adults and his son, Illinois State Sen. Darin LaHood. He attended the Department of Transportation grant award event, according to LaHood’s office.
- Education Secretary Arne Duncan stayed there for six nights with his wife and children in 2013. He attended a nearby roundtable with tribal leaders and an event at a local school, according to the Department of Education.
- Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, who oversaw the National Park Service, stayed there with his family for three nights in 2011. His office did not return a call about the purpose of his visit.
- Former White House Special Advisor Phil Schiliro also used the lodge for one night in August of 2011 with his wife and one other person. The White House did not return emails about the purpose of his visit.
- National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis, his wife, his son and his son’s girlfriend stayed for five days in August of 2012. The park service said he had official business on two of the five days. ” The director took personal time during the remaining days,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
Under federal policy, family members may accompany government employees who travel on official business. “Family members’ travel costs and incidental expenses are not typically reimbursed by the federal government, although they may stay in the accommodations reserved for the traveling employee, as long as any additional costs incurred as a result of the stay are covered by personal funds,” wrote National Park Service spokeswoman Slayton.
It's not like they don't have any funds of their own.