When we learned of the outrageous waste of taxpayer dollars by the General Services Administration (GSA), some presumed the $823,000 lavish Vegas conference was an exception with respect to how federal agencies spend — and waste — public money. Now we learn there may be other examples — many others — where federal bureaucrats have spent money with little regard for the people working their you-know-what’s off to pay for it all. Here’s what the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has learned so far when it requested information on conferences held over the past seven years at a higher cost to taxpayers than the GSA fiasco — GSA came in at $3,000 per person or $600 per day.
All told, the committee turned up 153 such conferences since 2005, with the Defense Department claiming the lion’s share of them — 64.
“It was the hope of members of the committee that the GSA conference was an outlier by any metric designed to quantify the waste and abuse that occurred there,” Issa wrote in an Aug. 22 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “It was not.”
Last month, Issa sent nearly identical letters to nine other agencies that also reported holding conferences that were more expensive on a per-person basis than the GSA conference.
Further investigation is required to determine if/how many of these conferences were appropriate and justified, and how many represent the alarming, insulting, and wasteful spending that went on at GSA, where bureaucrats’ disrespect for the taxpayer was palpable.