Rep. Sandy Adams (FL-24) made the following comment after the Department of Commerce's Inspector General announced an audit and investigation into convention spending by the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). Earlier this year Adams had brought whistleblower claims of multi-million dollar conference costs to the attention of congressional investigators. Since Adams initially highlighted the spending abuses, NIST and MEP have cancelled two upcoming conferences, saving American taxpayers potentially millions of dollars.
"The government is running trillion dollar deficits each year, and federal agencies need to understand that continuing to do things this way just because it's how they have "always been done,' won't cut it," said Adams. "When whistleblowers came to me with evidence MEP's conferences were costing federal taxpayers millions of dollars each, I called for an immediate investigation. I applaud the Department of Commerce's IG for looking into these conferences, and thank my colleague Senator Collins for her hard work on this issue. As I have said from the very first I was made aware of these conference costs, it might make sense to hold a conference or two each year to share best practices to promote American manufacturing, but our nation cannot afford to spend $3-5 million dollars each for seven conferences a year. Things have to change in Washington, D.C. and this investigation sends a clear message to government bureaucrats that it is taxpayer dollars they are spending and there must be strong accountability measures for their actions."