The Senate took the first legislative whack at government-funded conferences after the extravagant Las Vegas junket that’s become an embarrassment to the General Services Administration.
The Senate agreed by voice vote Tuesday to several reforms proposed by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), such as capping at $500,000 how much can be spent on a single conference and requiring each expenses for each conference to be posted online. Final passage of the underlying bill—of which the proposal is a part—is expected by April 27.
If the amendment becomes law, an itemized list of expenses for all taxpayer-funded travel conferences, as well as the costs that accrued beforehand in selecting the conference location, will have to be posted online. Conference organizers would also have to justify why they selected a particular location and show a cost-benefit analysis of holding an in-person conference as opposed to a teleconference.
The amendment would allow government agencies to send a maximum of 50 employees to international conferences. And it also would require that all presentations, visual aids, and video recordings made at a conference be published online. Several embarrassing videos created at the GSA’s Las Vegas conference – with the agency’s employees appearing to make light of the conference’s lavish spending – surfaced shortly after news broke of the $822,751 junket in 2010.
Courtesy of politico.com