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The judges of the 9th Circuit are hard at work to ensure a fair trial of everything that Maui has to offer. From scuba diving and surfing to golfing and floral designing, their annual conference will have it all – at an expense to taxpayers of one million dollars, according to a story by Breitbart.
Of course, the organizers of the event are quick to tell taxpayers on their website that they won’t be on the hook for fishing tournament costs (they claim that “government funds are not used for any recreational or sporting activities”). Taxpayers will just be footing the bill for the Hyatt resort accommodations at a minimum cost of over $900 per judge that attends. That’s not to mention the salaries of each judge as they contemplate the meaning of a fair trial while learning to paddle-board.
Senators Sessions and Grassley of the Senate Judiciary Committee think this is a bit extravagant, too – they sent a letter to Chief Judge Kozinski with a list of questions probing into their choice of posh accommodations and activities. One such question asks “Why was the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa selected as the venue…? Please explain the selection process, including other venues considered and why there were not selected.”
Stephen Miller, a spokesperson for Senator Sessions, questions further, “Why are taxpayers in the middle of a fiscal crisis subsidizing a million-dollar conference at a beach resort so that attendees can indulge in tropical recreation? If the topics addressed at the conference are so rigorous and pressing, why does the schedule allow for so much R&R?"
The 9th Circuit isn’t the only place that taxpayers’ money is being wasted. In 2010, executives from the General Services Administration (GSA) attended a conference in Las Vegas. Not just any conference, though – a conference that included a clown, a mind-reader, and “team-building projects” that resemble arts-and-crafts, all generously funded by taxpayers.
The more than $800,000 GSA Vegas get-away was busted by the Washington Times earlier this week, almost two years after the event took place. These are just two of the most recent examples of government wasteful spending on recreational pleasure, and there are certainly dozens of others.
In all likelihood, 9th Circuit judges could have gathered in a conference center and discussed how best to ensure justice for all just as efficiently without these superfluous perks. But that certainly wouldn’t be as fun. After all, vacationing on the taxpayers’ dollar (or million) is sure to be the highlight of the year for attendees.
As regular citizens are finding thrifty ways to vacation with their families this summer, 9th Circuit judges will be lavishly sitting on a resort. This waste is inexcusable. The 9th Circuit needs to show the every-day citizen that they care about fairness – especially in how they spend taxpayers’ money. Senator Sessions told Politico that “the courts ought to look at whether they even need to do those, whether it needs to be done every year, and how it can be done cheaper.” He added, “I hope [our inquiry] begins to send a message throughout the government that we don’t have money to spare.”
Tell your Senators and Representatives that this outlandish spending cannot be tolerated. Sign our petition to tell Congress that we will not stand for taxpayer money being spent on holidays for government officials.