The objectives of the audit were to review: (1) the justifications offered for the event; (2) the site-cost comparisons on where to hold the event; and (3) certain conference-related costs – including food and beverages, external event planning, and audio-visual – for compliance with applicable laws and regulations, related to the nine highest dollar conferences held within the United States, and the most expensive DOJ conference held in a foreign location.62
Scope and Methodology
Our audit was limited to a review of 10 conferences held between October 2004 and September 2006. We performed the audit in accordance with the Government Auditing Standards, and included tests and procedures we believed necessary to accomplish the audit objectives. As detailed in Chapter 2, JMD prepared the listing of more than 3,000 conferences in response to congressional inquiries. Using the JMD list, we selected 10 conferences – nine conferences held in the United States and one conference held overseas – that reported the highest cost.
We conducted our internal audit fieldwork at DOJ, FBI, OJP, and COPS offices in Washington D.C., and Quantico, Virginia. We also contacted, visited, and performed work at private-sector and non-profit organizations that were provided DOJ funds to plan and administer the Department-sponsored conferences. In addition, we identified and reviewed federal acquisition and travel regulations, GAO decisions, DOJ directives, and component-level guidance regarding conference planning, travel, and allowable expenditures. We also reviewed and analyzed conference planning documents and summaries, conference attendance lists, memoranda of understanding, invoices, and relevant congressional testimony.
Planning and Hosting Costs
As discussed in Chapter 2, we selected conferences with expenses in the three largest overall categories to review and identify unallowable and extravagant costs. We reviewed and verified expenditures for conference planning and hosting costs from event planner and supplier invoices and assigned each expense to one of eight categories for comparative purposes. To select the one cost category to review for each event, we ranked each conference according to the amount spent in each category as shown in Table I-1.
RANK OF SELECTED COST CATEGORIES BY CONFERENCE
|Conference Name|| External
|Rank|| Food and
|OJJDP National Conference||605,619||1||291,940||2||62,930||6|
|Weed and Seed Conference||197,565||5||394,008||1||147,779||2|
|PSN National Conference||196,798||6||108,866||6||143,469||3|
|OVC National Symposium||310,394||3||98,350||7||148,738||1|
|NIJ Technology Conference||409,535||2||175,101||5||38,976||7|
|FBI Polygraph Conference||n/a||8||7,468||9||1,496||9|
|COPS National Conference||213,174||4||274,546||3||89,185||5|
|FBI ITEC Conference||n/a||8||8,334||8||7,747||8|
|FBI Cambodia Conference||n/a||8||4,219||10||0||10|
|Source: OIG analysis of component and external event planning records|
Our rankings found that the OJJDP National Conference spent the most on external event planners with $605,619 in allocated costs. The Weed and Seed Conference, with $394,008, spent more on food and beverages than any other selected conference. Likewise, the OVC National Symposium incurred $148,738 in audio-visual expenses, the highest of any event.
To determine the cost category reviewed for three of the remaining seven unselected conferences, we selected the highest ranked unselected conference in each cost category. We chose the NIJ Technology Conference’s $409,535 external event planning charges, the COPS National Conference’s $274,546 food and beverage expense, and the PSN Conference’s $143,469 audio-visual equipment and services cost.
To provide a contrast to the two high-dollar figures selected for each of the three categories, we judgmentally chose the cost category to review for the remaining four conferences. Since the FBI Cambodia Conference did not report any external event planning or audio-visual charges, we chose to review this event’s food and beverage costs. Likewise, we chose external event planning costs for the LEC Conference since this was the only remaining event reporting such expenses. For the remaining two FBI events, we selected which conference to review audio-visual and food and beverage costs to maximize the dollar amount reviewed. This meant that we chose food and beverage costs for the FBI Polygraph Conference and audio-visual costs for the FBI ITEC Conference. Table I-2 presents the results of this selection by cost category.
COST CATEGORY SELECTION
|Conference Name|| Amount
|External Event Planning|
|OJJDP National Conference||605,619|
|NIJ Technology Conference||409,535|
|Food and Beverages|
|Weed and Seed Conference||394,008|
|COPS National Conference||274,546|
|FBI Polygraph Conference||7,468|
|FBI Cambodia Conference||4,219|
|OVC National Symposium||148,738|
|PSN National Conference||143,469|
|FBI ITEC Conference||7,747|
|TOTAL AMOUNT SELECTED||$2,141,116|
|Source: OIG analysis of component and external event planning records|
Chapters 5, 6, and 7 detail the results of our review of the above-selected costs totaling $2.1 million.
Other DOJ components, including sponsoring components, incurred almost $1.9 million in costs resulting from sending employees to attend the 10 reviewed conferences. To review the travel expenses incurred by various DOJ components that sent employees to the reviewed events, we obtained and counted the number of DOJ attendees appearing on each event’s registration or attendance list. These listings served as our basis for determining our sample of employee travel vouchers to test.
As shown in Table I-3, we found that 1,841 DOJ employees registered to attend the 10 conferences.63
DOJ EMPLOYEES REGISTERED TO ATTEND REVIEWED CONFERENCES
|Name of Conference||Location and Date|| Number of
|OVC Symposium|| Atlanta, Georgia
March 7 - 11, 2005
|FBI Polygraph Conference|| Minneapolis, Minnesota
June 26 - July 1, 2005
|Weed and Seed Conference|| Los Angeles, California
August 22 - 25, 2005
|NIJ Technology Conference|| San Diego, California
October 31 - November 2, 2005
|OJJDP National Conference||Washington, D.C. January 9 - 13, 2006||31|
|FBI Cambodia Conference|| Phnom Penh, Cambodia
March 12 - 17, 2006
|PSN National Conference|| Denver, Colorado
May 2 - 6, 2006
|COPS National Conference|| Washington, D.C.
July 27 - 29, 2006
|FBI ITEC Conference|| San Antonio, Texas
August 7 - 11, 2006
|LEC Conference|| Phoenix, Arizona
August 14 - 17, 2006
|TOTAL NUMBER OF DOJ EMPLOYEES||1,841|
|Sources: OIG analysis of conference registration lists, component financial data, and
A total of 12 different DOJ components sent employees to the 10 reviewed conferences.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF),
- Executive Office for United States Attorneys (EOUSA),
- Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP),
- Community Resource Service (CRS),
- U.S. Marshals Service (USMS),
- U.S. Parole Commission (USPC),
- Criminal Division,
- COPS, and
- DOJ administrative offices.
We randomly selected travel vouchers to sample and test for compliance with pertinent travel rules and regulations. Since each component is responsible for authorizing and approving individual employee travel vouchers, we based the number of vouchers to sample on vouchers generated by employees of each component who actually traveled to attend a conference. We determined which employees generated travel vouchers to attend the 10 conferences and selected a number of travel vouchers we believed necessary to provide a reasonable assurance that the components and their employees complied with travel rules and regulations.64
As shown in Table I-4, we selected a sample of 253 travel vouchers generated by DOJ employees from the 12 components and offices to test the 10 reviewed conferences’ multi-component costs.
DOJ EMPLOYEES REGISTERED OR
ATTENDING REVIEWED CONFERENCES
|Criminal Division||11||DOJ Headquarters||14|
|Source: OIG selection of travel vouchers|
Chapter 6 details the results of our review of multi-component travel voucher costs.
Some conference planners or sponsors did not have finalized attendance rosters showing who actually attended the event. Consequently, we used each conference’s most recently available registration list to identify DOJ employees.
For each component, we selected: (1) 10 percent of the number of vouchers for each conference if 100 or more employees attended; (2) 10 vouchers, if less than 100 attended; or (3) all vouchers if less than 10 employees attended.