Federal Agencies Frown on Fancy Resorts for Conferences

Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Justice have policies against using them.

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Oceanfront working vacations might be OK for President Obama and Republican fat cats, but image-conscious federal agencies are choosing cheaper conference centers over ritzy resorts. The GAO tells us that three cabinet agencies--Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Justice--have travel and conference policies that frown on using resorts, even when cheaper. And one, VA, has moved a big conference from a resort to another location "to avoid potential negative perceptions."

The GAO didn't give any numbers and there is no rule against using fancy resorts, but Uncle Sam's auditor did find a trend: Even when a resort was the better, more cost-effective location, federal managers opted for the lower-budget choice.

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