Conference spending drops dramatically

Originally posted on by Andy Medici

Conference spending at four agencies fell 88 percent from fiscal 2010 to 2012, according to a report released Jan. 3 by Rep. John Mica, R-Fla.

The Defense Department, Veterans Affairs Department, the General Services Administration and the IRS spent a combined $224 million on conferences in fiscal 2010 compared to $26 million in 2012, according to the report.

Mica, chairman of the subcommittee on Government Operations in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said increased congressional oversight of these agencies contributed to the drop in conference spending.

"Projecting those savings government-wide, taxpayers should realize as much as a half a billion dollars in savings annually from reductions of wasteful and excessive conference spending," Mica said in a statement.

Some agencies were shaken in 2012 by reports of wasteful conference spending and have put strict controls into place to prevent excessive conference spending. GSA Administrator Martha Johnson resigned after an Inspector General report detailed lavish spending connected to a GSA conference held in Las Vegas in 2010.

Spending on conferences at GSA fell from $10.9 million to $1.3 million while spending at DoD fell from $89 million to $12.3 million.

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