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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

PORKBUSTERS UPDATE: Coburn Wins One for the Taxpayers With Limit on Junkets for Bureaucrats

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, gained a small but symbolically important victory in the Senate yesterday when it was announced the Conference Report on the 2006 Foreign Operations Appropriations bill includes a cap on how many federal bureaucrats can attend a particular foreign conference at one time.

The report, which provides courts and executive branch officials detailed guidance on the intent of Congress in a bill, caps the attendance by federal bureaucrats at 50. The cap is a start towards ultimately getting control of tax-paid overseas trips for bureaucrats attending conferences that often are of only marginal value at best and are more accurately described as junkets.

The Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management has estimated that federal bureaucrats spend at least $100 million annually to attend conferences, but the actual total is almost certainly much higher because such costs are often hard to identify in the jumble of federal agency accounting, billing and reimbursements.

Go here for the full report.