Regular Right Guy

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$50 Million IRS Conferences? A Drop In The Bucket

OB-XT084_startr_E_20130606112731If you think the IRS’s fun budget of $50 million over three years is outrageous, wait until you get a load of this.

The same over-the-top conferences, seminars and junkets are going on government-wide. Go to the website of virtually any government agency or just google that agency’s name and the word ‘conferences.’ It’ll take some searching but every branch of government from the federal courts to the EPA have a plethora of conference, seminars, and ‘workshop’ get-a-ways from which to choose annually.

Here’s a personal story:

Years ago I had a friend who the State Department flew around the world so he could attend a seminar in the U.S. The TDY took him directly from his station in Bangkok to his stateside destination, but the return trip had to be rescheduled and he was literally shuttled back via an around-the-world return trip through Europe, Africa and Asia. True story.

These seminars, conferences and junkets are routine in every government agency. Hundreds of millions are being wasted annually.

Look at these examples we found without too much research:

Here is one from NASA: 1st Annual International Space Station (ISS) Research and Development Conference: Results and Opportunities — The Decade of Utilization, June 26-28, 2012, Denver, Colo.

Utilization of your tax dollars, that is. Can you imagine a thousand techno-nerds at a 1st annual anything nerdy? Two words: Mars landing.

The Daily Caller broke this one on the strapped U.S. Postal Service last February, airfreighting postal employees off to that beautiful City By the Bay. And you can’t get a letter on a Saturday.

And here is the 2011 Dept. of Education Federal Student Aid (FSA) Fall Conference, held at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Here’s portal to the Department of Education in 2012: Labor-Management Collaboration Conference. Here is another DoE Office of Innovation and Improvement conference invitation, to be held in ‘beautiful, historic Galveston’ this week: The must-attend event for PreK-5th grade educators is back by popular demand.

Jeez, wouldn’t it be cheaper to just go back to the good old days when teachers were ugly but actually taught? The fourteen-year-old boys will be disappointed but you can’t make everybody happy.

Here is the EPA ‘Emission Inventory’ conference itinerary from 2001 thru 2010 in Las Vegas, Portland, OR., New Orleans, and Tampa, Florida. What do you figure the carbon footprint was for these massive bureaucratic wastes of our tax dollars?

Of course all federal conferences and seminars have to be approved at manager level or higher. Which means all the office suck-ups get to go. How else does a guy like Faris Fink get promoted?

Now RRG can’t verify that these conferences cost $4 million like the IRS Star Trek conference, but all of them entail hotel, conference halls, food and various other amenities, all under per diem allowance to federal employees.

So why isn’t Congress doing a government-wide investigation on departmental frivolity? Could it be they’re a little worried that their own personal gadfly expeditions around the world might prove embarrassing?

HT WSJ [Image]


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