Justice Department Blows $58 Million on Conferences

Justice Department Blows $58 Million on Conferences

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The Internal Revenue Service isn’t the only agency that likes to party.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) sent a letter to Justice Department this week, inquiring about any partying overseas.

The letter came after the DOJ leased Moscow’s Crowne Plaza Hotel and World Trade Center—with up to 340 hotel rooms—for a conference last week.

In April, an inspector general’s report found that Justice spent $58 million on conferences last year. That’s more than the $50 million the scandal-plagued IRS spent in two years, which is receiving intense scrutiny by Congress.

The conference spending last year includes $500,000 to send 30 DOJ employees to a 5-day International drug conference in Indonesia. Another cost $105,000 to have a conference about violence against women in the Northern Mariana Islands– only 47 people attended. And another $198,358 went to send four DOJ employees to a drug enforcement gathering in Dakar, Senegal.  -  See the full list here

Q1 PROFITS BOOSTED BY RESEARCH TAX CREDIT    Profits for the first quarter might not be as fantastic as they look. Dozens of big companies such as Google lifted their incomes by more than 10 percent thanks to the extension of the research and development credit and other tax breaks, an analysis by The Wall Street Journal found.
According to the analysis, the S&P-500 companies also set aside 5.6 percent less money for taxes, which helped their cumulative profits grow a robust 6.7%, the Journal found.
Google was by far the biggest beneficiary of the tax breaks. It reportedly spent $6.8 billion on research and development in 2012.  -  Read more at The Wall Street Journal

ISSA TRIES TO REFORM POST SERVICE…AGAIN    House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), is taking another stab at fixing the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service.

Issa is proposing a bill that moves forward with the agency’s suggested five-day delivery (ending Saturday delivery) and eases the much-maligned requirement to prefund retirees’ health benefits. He offered a similar bill last Congress, but it was never brought up for a vote on the full House floor. -  Read more at GovExec

CONGRESS’ REPUTATION SINKS TO NEW LOW—10% APPROVAL This is the fourth year in a row that Congress takes last place on Gallup’s list of 16 American institutions.  The country has the most confidence in the military, small businesses and law enforcement, according to Gallup. - Read more here

1 IN 4 U.S. BRIDGES ARE ‘DEFICIENT’    A new report by the Government Accountability Office shows that of the 607,380 bridges on the nation's roadways in 2012, 25 percent were classified as “deficient.” And while some have structural problems and one or more components in poor condition, auditors found that others are “functionally obsolete and may no longer be adequate for the traffic they serve.” On the plus side, the number of deficient bridges has actually decreased since 2002. -  Read the report here


Brianna Ehley is the former Washington Correspondent for The Fiscal Times. She is currently a reporter on Politico's health care team in Washington, D.C.