Report: Dept Of Energy Conferences A Good Time On Taxpayer’s Dime

Ernest Moniz

Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy

A recent audit of the 2013-2014 Obama Administration Department of Energy by the department’s Inspector General shone a spotlight on the conference budget.  What the resulting report exposed should make any budget-minded, Democratic hawks out there blush.

$21 million dollars was spent on over 300 conferences during a sixteen month span.  Among the expenditures listed for these events were golf tournaments, cruise dinners, and SuperBowl parties.  In addition, at least one conference cost the department $63,000 with $15,000 in rental fees for a hotel conference center when a department building with comparable meeting space was unused in the vicinity.  The reason the department went off the reservation, as it were, for the conference?

“The justification for using a nonfederal facility was because the department’s headquarters site was ‘not conducive to an efficient flow of conversation and development of concepts,’” the report reads.

Sure.  That’s why so many company retreats are held somewhere other than the office.  However, that’s in private industry, not government work.

The Washington Times requested comments from the department, and did not receive any.  The story on this issue quoted the report:

“Our review also identified conference information regarding social events that in our view could lead to negative public perceptions. Existing guidance notes that participation in any associated social events should be limited and restrained to the greatest degree practicable to avoid the appearance of impropriety,” the inspector general said in the report.

“Despite this admonition, we found that attendance at some conferences included associated social events.”

Of course, within the report, the officials interviewed claimed that the findings were misleading as so many of the events were sponsored or co-sponsored, and that was not reflected in the documents.

The report went on to say that Energy Department officials claim improper records make it appear as if the department fully paid for such activities, when in reality it did not. Officials told the inspector general that the banquets, parties and other after-work functions should be listed as “co-sponsored” by the department or “not sponsored at all.”

So, are they also admitting to bad record keeping?  Doesn’t matter.  The Department of Energy, far from being efficient as they insist all American consumer products be, is not an engine for financial conservation.  Actually, given the Obama Administration’s track record on energy matters, it actually reflects the grandiose vision of the green energy movement they foment.

About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.