Being able to attend lavish conferences is one of the many perks of working for a massive, bloated federal government that has absolutely no regard for money that they’ve confiscated through taxes. They don’t earn the money. They just take it, and they spend it however they want. Since it’s not their money, and since it was “legally” taken, there is no incentive to be careful with it or to try to operate within a tight budget. And they don’t even have to keep track of how they spend it.
The day before 9/11, Donald Rumsfeld announced that the Pentagon couldn’t account for $2.3 trillion of spending. No one knew where or what it was spent on. No one kept track of it. But it didn’t really matter, since it wasn’t their money.
Recently, we wrote about how much money the IRS spent on conferences from 2010 to 2012. They spent $50 million, and at their biggest conference in Anaheim, California, they didn’t even keep track of all their expenses, which totaled $4.1 million. If you trust their figures.
The IRS is certainly not the only agency to waste taxpayer money. That’s the norm in the federal government. And the IRS is only being criticized now, because they’re under harsh scrutiny for targeting conservatives and tea partiers.
The Department of Justice is under the same level of scrutiny, so it comes as no surprise that we’re talking about how much taxpayer money they waste on a regular basis. Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma brought to light some of these wasteful spending practices by the DOJ in a letter he sent to Eric Holder:
“In FY 2012, DOJ spent more than $58 million on conferences. Such spending should be significantly reduced, especially during times of fiscal challenges. That is why the Senate approved an amendment to the FY 2008 appropriations bill to cap DOJ conference spending at $15 million. Still, DOJ spent $47.8 million in 2008 on conferences, more than three times the amount authorized by Congress. Conference spending at DOJ peaked in 2010, when the department spent more than $90 million on conferences.”
In 2011, they spent about $65 million on conferences. So, from 2010 to 2012, they spent a total of $213 million on conferences.
Eric Holder was warning a few months ago about how sequestration cuts to his agency were going to place Americans at risk, because of all the furloughs to federal law enforcement officials. Well, why would they choose to furlough them, when they could much more easily just cut conference spending costs?
Did the DEA really have to go all the way to Moscow, Russia for some International Drug Enforcement Conference last week? Apparently, they leased the Crowne Plaza Hotel and World Trade Center in Moscow to provide 340 rooms for their participants. Was that absolutely necessary, especially since Holder seemed so concerned about sequestration cuts?
Obviously not. This is just the inevitable consequence of having a massive federal government that has no regard for how it spends taxpayer money.