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Report Looks at FDIC Conference Expenses

Inspector general reviews agency expenditures

April 11, 2012

By staff

A report on conference spending by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. found that it wasn't compliant when it exceeded policies for meal expenses and allowable entertainment expense at a gathering of 800 FDIC employees and their spouses. Otherwise, the organization generally complied with its conference policies.

While the Office of Management and Budget in September 2011 instructed U.S. agencies and departments to review policies and controls associated with conference-related activities and expenses, the FDIC is not required to follow the guidance.

But Acting FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg requested a review of its policies to assist the corporation in complying with the spirit of the guidance.

So the FDIC's Office of Inspector General conducted an evaluation based on conferences attended during fiscal-year 2011. The review focused on eight events that accounted for "substantially all of the conference-related costs" during the review period.

Total conference related costs from Oct. 1, 2010, through Sept. 30, 2011, were $3.9 million for 6,005 attendees.

"The FDIC generally complied with its conference policies," the report said. "Based on our review of eight conferences, FDIC conference planning officials prepared required budgeting and approval documents, ensured that conferences were approved at the appropriate management level, and obtained multiple bids from hotels/conference centers and considered travel costs and other factors required by policy when making best value determinations for conference sites."

But the inspector general did identify a compliance exception where "meals expenses" for a dinner and a reception exceeded FDIC policy limits of 200 percent of federal travel regulations promulgated by the General Services Administration. The exception amount was $5,801.

The report also discussed a dinner and reception that was held for 800 employees and spouses. Around $5,200 of the entertainment expense wasn't allowable.

The inspector general outlined a number of steps that the FDIC can take to strengthen conference-related policy and controls and cut conference expenses.

An FDIC response adequately addressed concerns, the inspector general said.

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