September 24, 2007, - 12:22 pm
Remember ICE’s Tommy LaSorda Party?: House Homeland Security Committee Looking into DHS’ Wasteful “Conferences”
By Debbie Schlussel
The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee may be useless and stupid–they’ve all but given the empress with no clothing, Julie L. Myers a/k/a “The ICE Princess,” their blessing to head up Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). (The vote on her is scheduled for Wednesday Morning, sadly.) But the House Homeland Security Committee may soon be asking the questions their Senate counterparts should be but aren’t.
Remember the weeklong “conference” held last year by ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Director John P. Torres for which Tommy Lasorda was paid at least $30,000 of your tax money? Remember how it was done in The ICE Princess’ hometown, Kansas City, so she could “visit the folks” and party, courtesy of you the taxpayer? Remember how the conference took a whole week of top ICE DRO officials’ time and cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in man-hours/salary, hotel rooms, per diems, etc?
Well, now, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) is looking into these wasteful, phony conferences at Homeland Security:
House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., has asked the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general to investigate how much the department has spent on conferences and events during the last three years.
In a letter sent Thursday to Inspector General Richard Skinner, Thompson said his request was prompted by a recent audit from the Justice Department’s inspector general into that department’s conference expenditures. That IG’s report found that Justice spent about $46 million on conferences and travel during fiscal 2006.
The report on Justice spending concluded that some expenses, while allowed by law, appeared to be extravagant. . . .
“I am writing to request that your office conduct a similar examination of the spending for conferences, retreats and similar off-site activities conducted by the Department of Homeland Security,” Thompson wrote to Skinner. “Because of the important mission of the department and the need to prudently spend federal taxpayer funds, neither waste nor extravagance by the department in performance of its critical role should be accepted or condoned.”
The Transportation Security Administration, a high-profile arm of the Homeland Security Department, came under fire in 2004 for holding an extravagant awards ceremony. Then-Inspector General Clark Kent Irvin reported that the agency held an “unnecessarily expensive” awards program the year before that cost about $460,000.
Irvin said TSA failed to solicit competitive bids when selecting a site for the awards program, and did not compare the total costs associated with different site selections or ceremony configurations. The audit did not, however, find any violations of federal law.
TSA disputed the audit, but scaled back its awards ceremony for 2004.
In his Thursday letter, Thompson said he wants to know the total that each agency within the department has spent for the last three years “on producing or facilitating the production” of events, including funds spent on travel and staff salaries. He added that he wants the IG to identify any co-sponsors of each event for the last year, if the department was not the sole organizer.
You can expect The ICE Princess’ book-cookers to get back to work camouflaging the real cost of John “Costanza” Torres weeklong partying headlined by Tommy Lasorda.
I urge any and all ICE personnel who were at the ICE/DRO Homeland Lasorda-ty “conference” to contact Rep. Thompson’s committee staff and inform them on The ICE Princess and her man “Costanza” Torres’ wasteful spending of your tax money for a week of partying and preening. And let DHS’ Inspector General Skinner know about it, too. I urge that you do so under a pseudonym.
We all know that ICE and DHS officials are more concerned with rooting out dedicated, law-abiding law enforcement whistleblowers than they are in rooting out terrorist, illegal aliens, and other criminals.
Congressman Thompson wants headlines showing how he’s sleuthing out and stopping waste at Homeland Security. Give him the fodder for it.
Tags: Assistant Homeland Security Secretary, Bennie Thompson, Clark Kent Irvin, David Lunde, Debbie Schlussel, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, director, Empress, federal law, Homeland Security Department, House Homeland Security Chairman, House Homeland Security Committee, ICE DRO, ICE's Tommy LaSorda Party, Inspector General, John "Costanza" Torres, John "Costanza" Torres Wasted, John Clark, John P. Torres, John Torres Costanza, Julie L. Myers, Julie Myers Diet Coke, Kansas City, law-abiding law enforcement, Mississippi, Princess, Removal Baseball Officer, Richard Skinner, Senate, Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Tommy Lasorda, USD