While budget strapped Department of Homeland Security officials are balancing whether to enough money is available to provide gas for government cars
and officials have implemented a hiring freeze, some have said that the latest Asian Pacific Summit conference held in Hawaii is a classic boondoggle.
Officials spent the summit at the exclusive resort at Waikiki Beach on the island of Oahu. While the days were filled with speakers for seminars, it
is reported that very little of new value was delivered. The cost of the summit is estimated at a 250,000 dollars with corporations divvying for most
of the bill. US Government officials state that only airfare was paid for by taxpayers.
Dec. 17, 2004 — At the same time agents of the budget-strapped Department of Homeland Security worried about being able to afford gas for government
cars, top department officials, including outgoing DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, could be found basking in the warm Hawaiian sun for a meeting they said
was essential government business.
While officials reported a continuing freeze on hiring new agents and a halt to non-essential spending in chilly Washington, D.C., buffet lines,
lavish luaus and a short walk to the beach awaited top officials at a sumptuous resort and spa on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, on the island of Oahu.
On the first day of the conference, ABC News cameras caught Ridge, along with several aides, relaxing by one of the five pools at the Honolulu resort.
It was listed as "office time" on his official schedule.
Chuck Lewis, executive director of Center for Public Integrity, a government watchdog group, said homeland security has turned into a vast, wasteful
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As a government sponsored event, transportation cost to and from an activity is borne by the taxpayer, as well as per diem. Ethical issues have been
raised here. Corporations may have well borne a majority of the cost for the activities; including dancing hula girls and lavish luaus. While this
may have well been a relaxing trip and officials will certainly, as well as the general public, reap benefits, the circumstances surrounding this
whole event have left many people wondering about the integrity of our appointed officials.
I never thought the DHS was a good idea, or an intelligence czar. If we have a problem, it just seems like government waste to make a new agency to
deal with it (DHS). When that isn't going well, make another one (intelligence czar). I think it would of been smarter, and cheaper, to fix the
intelligence agencies we have, than create more bureaucracies.
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