NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 23, 2006

In the last five years, the federal government spent $1.4 billion on spring break-style trips and conferences, says columnist Michelle Malkin.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) surveyed all federal departments and agencies and ordered documentation of their conferences, meetings and travel expenses since 2000. During a hearing, Coburn exposed tax-funded trips that included:

  • $3.6 million for 236 Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) employees to attend an AIDS conference in Barcelona, Spain.
  • A total of 59 HHS conferences around the world with delegations of more than 100 -- including one with more than 1,000 attendees in Orlando, Florida.
  • A Department of State retreat in Vienna, Austria, for the "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and "Train the Trainer" workshops.
  • A Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) conference on American real estate and urban areas, in the resort town of Los Cabos, Mexico.
  • A HUD trip to Honolulu -- for the Sacramento, California, Home Ownership Fair.

Bureaucrats do more than waste time and money, says Malkin -- they also undermine our nation's best interests. For example, the State Department sent employees to a counterterrorism conference in Saudi Arabia with the Islamist Muslim World League -- a group considered a financial supporter of al-Qaeda by U.S. counterterrorism officials, says Malkin.

Both parties in Washington pledge to reduce spending and reform business as usual. Yet, Coburn's attempt to limit conference spending by just one agency -- HUD -- disappeared from an appropriations bill behind closed doors, says Malkin.

Source: Michelle Malkin, "The Government Junkets You Fund,", February 8, 2005.


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues