Today, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs released the following breakdown of taxpayer expenditures to host a VA HR conference in Orlando, Florida, last year:
$1.2 million: Participant Travel
$786, 505.00: Program Funds
$296,165.00: "Audio Visual Center"
$184,800.00: Morning and Evening Refreshments
$113,076.00: Staff Travel
$98,189.70: Catering (4 days)
$90,747.00: Coffee Break Refreshments
$52,000.00: "Patton-style" Video
$46,147.50: Labor for 35 Breakout Rooms
$40,158.54: Miscellaneous Expenses
$31,500.00: Video Production
$862.50: Karaoke Night
A follow-up conference was held in September 2011 at a cost of $2.4 million.
Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, said of the expenditures:
"As we learn more about these conferences, I am more and more concerned about the clear lack of leadership, accountability, and transparency at VA. To see that VA employees were treated to tens of thousands of dollars in refreshments, a $300,000 Audio Visual Center, and a night of Karaoke does not invoke confidence in employees who are entrusted with the nation's monies for veterans. The Committee is now looking into additional conferences held during the past two years, and it is imperative that VA continue to provide information to Congress so that we can determine the full extent of this blatant misuse of taxpayer dollars."