WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley is asking three circuit courts to account for spending taxpayer dollars on conferences at lavish resorts in Estes Park, Colo., Savannah, Ga., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
“There is no requirement that the federal judiciary host conferences at all, let alone at lavish resorts. It should be an easy expense to cut, yet the federal judiciary seems to be acting like it has a blank checkbook. Tough decisions about expenditures are being made across the federal government, and the judiciary isn’t exempt. But, you shouldn’t complain about the cuts to important services while jetting off to a resort in Colorado,” Grassley said.
Grassley sent letters to the chief judges of the 8th, 10th and 11th circuit courts of appeals asking for details about conferences each circuit had at luxurious resorts in Colorado and Georgia. He previously asked the 9th Circuit Court about a conference planned for Maui, Hawaii.
Grassley first became concerned with the Judicial Conference’s sequestration plans after reading an email alerting him to the drastic measures the courts would take if sequestration occured. The email lacked any reference to actions the courts should already be taking to limit unnecessary spending, such as limiting conference expenses and travel for judges and other employees.
“It’s difficult to make sense of the decision to move forward with these conferences, when sequestration loomed for over a year. The courts have plead to Congress that they can’t make additional cuts, yet, by the looks of it they aren’t willing to give up their conferences at what appears to be some pretty lavish resorts,” Grassley said. “It seems to me that there is a problem with priorities.”