A $Zillion in deficits, but some things are simply sacred.
For last August's BIG conference, the Department of Justice alone spent $288,000 to send 162 employees, according to agency information compiled by Republicans on the Senate Federal Financial Management Subcommittee. (DOJ was frugal -- in 2006, the State Department had spent $280,000 to send just 65 employees to BIG's conference.)
The 2008 event took place in New Orleans, and the keynote speaker was the recently indicted (and since convicted) Rep. William Jefferson, D-La. Some of the 2008 workshops taught bureaucrats to navigate the bureaucracy, and are at least sort of related to training for government work -- for example, "How to Win" when suing the government through an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint, or "How to Succeed (get Promoted) in Government." Many were self-help workshops on personal finance, maintaining one's credit rating, and "Starting Your Own Business Using Government Money/Buying Investment Properties."
The BIG Conference is certified as a "training" event. Federal employees may attend on PAID TIME OFF, plus expenses, plus registration fees, paid by the taxpayer.
But that's merely a pimple on the ass of the elephant.
The Justice Department spent $311 million on conferences between 2000 and 2006. A group of 18 major federal agencies that includes Justice spent a combined $2 billion on conferences during the same period. Department of Defense was the biggest spender at $515 million, but others in the group include the Agriculture Department ($91 million), the Environmental Protection Agency ($104 million), the State Department ($164 million), and the Department of Health and Human Services (at least $349 million)
That would be under the aegis of the Bush Administration.
The Party-In-Government (PIG Party) rolls on.
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