Vice Chair of the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Sandy Adams (FL-24) released the following statement after sending letters to Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (CA-49) and Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight Chairman Paul Broun (GA-10) regarding the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Adams has recently obtained whistleblower documents demonstrating that the NIST MEP has been egregiously spending taxpayer money on lavish resorts and multi-million dollar conferences that waste taxpayer funds and bring little benefit to the American people.
"The information I have obtained is astounding. According to the documents that I am in possession of, the NIST MEP most recently spent anywhere between $3 to $5 million dollars on an annual conference at a resort near Walt Disney World in Florida. It appears that taxpayer dollars are recklessly being spent on lavish resorts, expensive meals, and golf outings around the country. At a time when our nation is saddled with nearly $16 trillion in debt and people are struggling to put food on the table, this gross mismanagement of taxpayer funds should be investigated."
The most recent appropriation for MEP was $128 million, which is an increase of $22 million from the appropriations received in 2005. While the appropriation for this program continues to grow, the accountability for their spending seems to have become disproportionately relaxed.
"On the heels of discovering the General Services Administration's misuse of taxpayer funds, Congress has a duty to provide oversight and hold these government agencies accountable. I encourage the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to hold a joint hearing to look into the NIST's potential abuses immediately."