Congresswoman demands investigation into millions of taxpayer dollars used for Disney World conference

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
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Florida Republican Rep. Sandy Adams is digging into a federal agency she said has misused millions in taxpayer dollars for, among other things, a trip to Disney World.

Adams said in a statement that a whistleblower gave her documents from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership that show the agency used millions for a conference at a lavish resort near Disney World in Florida.

“The information I have obtained is astounding,” Adams said. “According to the documents that I am in possession of, the NIST MEP most recently spent anywhere between $3 to $5 million dollars on an annual conference at a resort near Walt Disney World in Florida. It appears that taxpayer dollars are recklessly being spent on lavish resorts, expensive meals, and golf outings around the country. At a time when our nation is saddled with nearly $16 trillion in debt and people are struggling to put food on the table, this gross mismanagement of taxpayer funds should be investigated.”

Adams has asked House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and Georgia Republican Rep. Paul Broun – the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight – to investigate the matter.

Adams is comparing this alleged government waste to the recent General Services Administration spending scandal.

“On the heels of discovering the General Services Administration’s misuse of taxpayer funds, Congress has a duty to provide oversight and hold these government agencies accountable,” Adams said. “I encourage the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to hold a joint hearing to look into the NIST’s potential abuses immediately.”

The most recent appropriation for MEP was $128 million, according to Adams’ office, an increase of $22 million from 2005.

UPDATE 5:32 p.m.:

NIST spokesperson Gail Porter challenges Adams’ accusations, and considers them inaccurate.

“The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has held a conference in Orlando, Florida, at the Orlando World Center Marriot annually since 2006 in order to provide workshops and training for non-federal, employees of the 400 MEP affiliated centers across the country, as well as education and networking for manufacturers and industry experts,” Porter said in a statement to The Daily Caller. “No federal funds were spent on catering, entertainment, or alcohol. Any reception and entertainment associated with this conference were paid for entirely by private sector resources.”

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Matthew Boyle