Conference Spending Down Significantly Since 2010

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., a senior Republican on the House Oversight Committee Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., a senior Republican on the House Oversight Committee J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Conference spending at federal agencies has decreased by hundreds of millions of dollars in the last three years, according to a new congressional report.

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., pointed to increased oversight by Congress and agency inspectors general as the impetus for the savings. The House Oversight and Government Reform committee member highlighted in his report agencies recently in the spotlight for excessive conference spending, including the Internal Revenue Service, the General Services Administration, the Veterans Affairs Department and the Defense Department.

“The federal government bears significant responsibility for wasting taxpayer dollars on unacceptable and unnecessary conferences,” Mica wrote in the report.  “Congressional and inspector general oversight has led to the implementation of tighter controls over conference spending and the elimination of frivolous and gratuitous expenditures…. These reforms and increased transparency have put departments and agencies on notice that wasteful spending on conferences will no longer be tolerated.”

Mica led the charge against the GSA’s infamously extravagant $820,000 conference in 2010 after the wasteful spending came to light in a 2012 IG report. The event caused then-GSA Administrator Martha Johnson to resign and President Obama to issue an executive order to curb conference spending and increase oversight of such expenses.

In fiscal 2010, GSA spent $10.9 million on conferences. In fiscal 2012, the latest data available in the report, the agency spent just $1.3 million, an 88 percent decrease. The VA spent $86.5 million on conferences in fiscal 2011, Mica found, but that number was down to $7.5 million in fiscal 2012.

Defense and IRS both have saved more than $64 million in conference spending since fiscal 2010 due to cuts and oversight. Those two agencies, in addition to VA and GSA, saved taxpayers more than $219 million by reducing conference spending since fiscal 2010.

Mica estimated the overall governmentwide savings could total more than $500 million annually. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.