New Rules Should Prevent Wasteful Govt Conferences

Monday, 14 May 2012 09:36 AM

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The Obama administration has put in place a set of strict new regulations to prevent a recurrence of the excessive Las Vegas conference that cost more than $800,000 of tax payers’ money. The 2010 General Services Administration conference led to resignations, firings and officials being put on administrative leave, The Washington Post’s blog The Federal Eye reported.

Acting director of the Office of Management and Budget Jeffrey Zients ordered federal agencies to cut travel expenses on conferences by 30 percent and required that any conference costing more than $100,000 must be reviewed by a deputy secretary, the Post reported.

The new rules also prohibit agencies from spending more than $500,000 on a conference without the approval of the agency secretary and require agencies to post online a list of conference spending.

Independent Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, supported the move.

Lieberman said he appreciates “the Administration’s quick action in issuing new guidelines to reduce travel costs and strengthen agency accountability for spending on conferences,” according to the Post.

“Requiring agencies to post their conference spending online should be a major deterrent to the kind of reckless spending that occurred at GSA’s western regions conference," adde Lieberman. "These guidelines are a serious effort to save and eliminate the abhorrent waste, abuse, and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars.”

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