DOJ Spent $58M on Conferences in 2012, Employs 558 Prison 'Recreation Specialists'

DOJ Spent $58M on Conferences in 2012, Employs 558 Prison 'Recreation Specialists'

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) sent a bracing letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday accusing him of failing to redirect wasted money within the Department of Justice from frivolities to necessities. Pointing out that the Department of Justice claimed in February that sequestration – a set of mandatory spending cuts signed into law – would “have an impact on the safety of this country,” and that the DOJ is currently threatening to furlough federal law enforcement, Coburn pointed out millions in wasted cash throughout the department.

“In FY 2012,” Coburn wrote, “DOJ spent more than $58 million on conferences.” Coburn also explained that despite an amendment to FY 2008 appropriations to stop DOJ conference spending beyond $15, the department dropped $47.8 million on conferences; in 2010, the department spent a whopping $90 million on conferences. “This type of spending,” Coburn wrote, “is an area where all agencies, including DOJ, could easily eliminate unnecessary expenditures.”

One DOJ conference during 2012 included 30 employees traveling to Indonesia, costing $500,000; another cost $200,000 for 4 employees to head to Senegal; a third cost $100,000 for a conference in the Northern Mariana Islands that was not attended by anyone from the DOJ.

DOJ employees are handsomely rewarded, according to Coburn, with DOJ hiring 558 “recreation specialists” via the Bureau of Prisons, with approximately 100 employees making over $70,000. The DOJ also has 90 writers and editors, 85 of whom earn over $70,000.

Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).


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