House panel to examine VA spending on extravagant conferences
"E-mails obtained by the committee show that the department’s conference planners unapologetically and recklessly wasted taxpayer dollars"” said a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee staff report. "Taxpayers deserve better. And even more so, veterans deserve to know that the VA is doing everything it can to provide crucial services".
The VA has revised its conference policies since last year to "strengthen oversight, improve accountability and safeguard taxpayer dollars"” Gina Farrisee, the department’s assistant secretary for human resources and administration, said in prepared testimony. The changes include requiring approval from senior department officials, depending on an event’s cost.
The government planners traveled to Nashville, Dallas and Orlando to check out possible locations while treating the trips as little more than paid vacations, according to an investigative report set to be released Wednesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.