Rep. Ralph Hall finally found his General Services Administration-style confab scandal. No, it doesn't involve EPA employees playing a blindfolded game of Crucify the Energy Executive during a conference at The Venetian. But it's the next best thing: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with its heretical climate change studies. And it involves a magician, sort of.
When Hall heard that NOAA sought quotes for a motivational speaker to headline its upcoming conference, someone capable of "creating a unique model of translating magic and principles of the psychology of magic, magic tools, techniques and experiences into a method of teaching leadership," Congress' eldest statesman and fiscal-responsibility standard bearer acted to head off another boondoggle. Was the agency charged with monitoring the oceans and the weather spending taxpayer dollars to throw the equivalent of a six-year old's birthday party year after year?
On Thursday, Hall demanded to know exactly what it spends per annum on conjurers, prestidigitators, comedians and mind readers.
"As the Federal government continues to burden American taxpayers with trillion-dollar deficits and NOAA struggles to meet critical weather forecasting missions to protect lives and property, this type of ridiculous and wasteful spending is simply unacceptable," he chided.
The NOAA official charged with planning the one-day conference told the publication Government Executive that the gathering was intended to "train potential" managers in, among other things, "working with Congress."
Lesson One: Completed.