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:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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