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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Reps. Kind & Paulsen Introduce bipartisan bill for government transparency

WASHINGTON D.C.U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) and U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) introduced the Transparency Requirements for Agency Conferences and Events (TRACE) Act, a bipartisan bill that will bring transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility to federal agency conferences.

“Wisconsin taxpayers expect their government not to waste taxpayer dollars on extravagant accommodations, unnecessary luxuries, or special perks,” said Rep. Kind. “This bill will ensure federal workers get the training and information needed to do their jobs effectively, while putting oversight in place to guarantee that federal agencies aren’t wasting time or taxpayer money.”

“Congress has a duty to ensure that the taxpayer dollars paid by hard-working Minnesotans are spent wisely and responsibly,” said Rep. Paulsen. “Federal agency conferences should be not be lavish gatherings with excessive gifts and perks. By guaranteeing oversight, we can save taxpayer money and ensure that our government is efficient and effective.”  

The TRACE Act will increase transparency of agencies by requiring a comprehensive report describing the costs associated with any proposed conference, retreat, seminar or other such event being organized by a federal agency.

The bill requires 30 days before a conference begins, an itemized statement of the cost of attending or hosting the conference, the names of keynote speakers, a list of conference attendees, the conference location and itinerary, and a summary of the purposes and goals of the event. By requiring that this information be made public, this bill would greatly reduce the overall likelihood of an agency hosting or sending employees to an unnecessary conference that serves no needed civic purpose.

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