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Holding Federal Agencies Accountable


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In light of the current General Services Administration scandal, which included taxpayer dollars being spent on a mind reader/magician, I co-sponsored an amendment to increase accountability for government-sponsored conferences.

The Senate passed my amendment April 24 during debate on the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012. The excessive, gluttonous spending of taxpayer dollars by GSA officials to dole out luxurious trips and other benefits is outrageous, if not potentially criminal. This amendment would force agencies to account for the dollars they spend on conferences and justify their participation at these events.

My amendment also would reduce the amount a federal agency can spend on travel to 80 percent of the amount spent in 2010. It would also limit overseas agency conferences to no more than 50 federal employees stationed in the United States (unless the State Department deems a larger number is in the national interest).

The federal government spent more than $2 billion on conferences from 2000 to 2006 -- it's time for agencies to realize they must answer to the American people as to how they spend taxpayer dollars. I am pleased that my Senate colleagues supported this common-sense amendment, and I will continue working to get it signed into law.

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