Stage & Theatre
Grassley Presses for Additional Information on Conference Expenditures Review PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 03 October 2011 08:47

Grassley Presses for Additional Information on Conference Expenditures Review

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today asked Jacob Lew, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to provide further information about his review of conference expenditures throughout the federal government.

The government-wide review comes on the heels of an audit report released by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General that revealed the department paid $600,000 for event planners, in addition to paying an average of $32 for snack packs and $16 for muffins at conferences held at venues across the country.  The report also showed a 53 percent increase in conference expenditures at the Justice Department from 2008 to 2009.

The audit included information about conferences held at four-star hotels.  When questioned about the high-priced hotel by the Inspector General, the response from the Justice Department was that a four-star hotel was chosen because, “Only a four or five star hotel was capable of providing the level and quality of services expected by senior executives and other political appointees.”

“No economy can rationalize a 53 percent increase in conference expenditures between 2008 and 2009, let alone an economy that is facing 9 percent unemployment and stagnant job growth,” Grassley said.  “Whether it’s $16 for muffins or $600,000 for event planners, these are expenditures that can and should be looked at for cost savings measures.

The Inspector General’s office has stated publicly that it stands by the report.

Here is a copy of the text of Grassley’s letter to Lew.  A signed copy can be found here.

 

September 26, 2011

 

VIA ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION

 

The Honorable Jacob J. Lew

Director

Office of Management and Budget

Eisenhower Executive Office Building

1650 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20503

 

Dear Mr. Lew:

 

I am pleased to hear that you are directing a government-wide review of how taxpayer dollars are spent on conferences in response to a report that the Department of Justice (DOJ) paid $16.00 per muffin at a recent conference.  The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is standing by its report despite arguments by some that it may have miscalculated the figure in its investigation of conference expenditures.

 

If the OIG made errors in its report, I hope that it will step forward and correct the record.  Nevertheless, I would note that even by Hilton’s own accounting, DOJ spent $4,200 on 250 muffins, 200 pieces of fruit, 15 gallons of coffee, and 30 gallons of iced tea.  That amounts to $16 for only one muffin, less than one piece of fruit, 8 ounces of coffee, and 15 ounces of iced tea.   By anyone’s account, that’s excessive spending.  Additionally, while a DOJ spokesperson has suggested that the package included the cost of meeting space, the OIG report itself made clear that DOJ had negotiated with the hotel to provide that particular meeting space without charge as part of a larger agreement on other conference expenses.

 

The more important story from the OIG’s report is that DOJ increased total conference expenditures by 53% from $47.8 million in 2008 to $73.3 million in 2009.  That’s a $25.5 million increase in the first year of the Obama administration.   As I have been saying, this kind of spending is unacceptable given the economic realities most Americans are facing right now.

 

Please explain why the cost of conference expenditures increased so dramatically at DOJ in 2009.  I also have additional questions about your September 21 memorandum to executive department and agency heads.   Is it intended that each agency’s OIG be involved?  Will the findings of these inquiries be made public, in addition to being compiled for the Vice President?  I understand that each agency is to respond back to you by November 1, and I look forward to hearing their reports.

 

Thank you in advance for ensuring that your response arrives no later than October 3.  Should you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact Tristan Leavitt of my staff at (202) 224-5225.

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Grassley

Ranking Member

 

cc:        The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

 

Ms. Cynthia A. Schnedar

Acting Inspector General

U.S. Department of Justice

 
CARMEN HAS MOVED! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Joedy Cook   
Thursday, 22 September 2011 14:56

CARMEN HAS MOVED!

Join us on September 24th at our new location for for two performaces at 2:30pm and 8:15pm

Our one act "Carmen" and fun "Delicatessen" will be presented in the round, up close and personal, at BQC studios at 613 17th Street, Rock Island, IL.  Free parking and the entrance is located in the back of the building.  The performance is just over 1 hour and 20 minutes long, with a brief intermission for complementary refreshments.

This unique arts experience is free to the public, though donations are welcome.  Seating is limited, so call to reserve your spot! (309)786-3779

Want to win a family 4 pack of tickets to the Nutcracker this December?  Become a fan of Ballet Quad Cities on facebook and you could win a package to attend our holiday classic at the Adler Theatre!

 
Pinocchio at The Old Creamery Theatre PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Shelley Klimes   
Thursday, 22 September 2011 08:33
Pinocchio opens October 1st at The Old Creamery Theatre

Amana - All he wants is to be a real boy, but his lies and his nose keep getting in the way! Join The Old Creamery Theatre for Young Audiences for the retelling of a classic. Pinocchio opens Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. on the Main Stage in Amana and runs through Oct. 15.

This beloved Italian story will be brought to life through the classic theatrical tradition of “Commedia dell’Arte.” Using sound effects, masks and lots of humor, the characters in this play will be truly unforgettable.

The cast of Pinocchio consists of John Hill of Rockford, Illinois; Andrew Bosworth of Holly Springs, North Carolina; Laura Ambrose of Minneapolis, Minnesota.; Nicholas Hodge of South Amana; and Kamille Zbanek of Ely. Directed by Sean McCall of Marengo, Pinocchio was adapted from Carlo Collodi ’s classic Italian tale by Johnny Simons.

Tickets for Pinocchio are $8 per person and all seating is reserved. Reservations are highly recommended. Show times are Saturdays at 1 p.m., Oct. 1 and 8 with two shows on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The Old Creamery Theatre Company is a not-for-profit professional theatre founded in 1971 in Garrison, Iowa. The company is celebrating 40 years of bringing live, professional theatre to the people of Iowa and the Midwest. We thank KGAN and Fox 28, our 2011 season media sponsor.

 
Carmen at the Adler Theatre PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Joedy Cook   
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 11:54
CARMEN This Saturday September 24th only! 2:00pm & 8:00pm.

Ballet Quad Cities presents Deanna Carter's one-act classic tale of love, lust, jealousy and murder this Saturday at the Adler Theatre.

Opening the performance will be the return of the fan-favorite "Delicatessen" by choreographer Lynn Andrews

Tickets are $14, $18, $22

Sponsored by: The Adler Theatre Foundation

 
Braley Working to Rebuild Iowa Communities PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Stage & Theatre
Written by Kira Ayish   
Friday, 16 September 2011 13:43

Introduces bill to help rehabilitation in Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, Des Moines, Davenport, Centerville, Corning and Bloomfield

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) introduced legislation to help rebuild Iowa communities that have been damaged by natural disasters.  The Rebuilding Communities Act extends important tax breaks for the historic tax credit and rehabilitation tax credit, targeted at flooded Midwestern areas for an additional three years. By providing these tax credits to help damaged communities rebuild, they are able to complete important historic rehabilitation development projects and bring numerous employment opportunities back to these areas.

“It is vital that we give flooded cities the tools to continue to renovate and rebuild,” said Rep. Braley. “I continue to work hard to help Iowans recover from the floods and tornadoes of 2008, as well as the most recent flooding this summer. Recovering from damage sustained from these disasters takes years, and now is not the time to let this disaster recovery tax credit expire.”

“Iowa communities are resilient, but they need support as they rebuild from the damage and destruction these disasters caused.  Helping our communities rebuild after they have been hit by a natural disaster is a critical step on the road to recovery. Ensuring that our communities have the ability to rebuild means increased job creation and faster economic recovery.”

The Rebuilding Communities Act will extend tax provisions originally passed in 2008 in the Heartland Disaster Tax Relief Act.  Included in the legislation were provisions to give tax credits to rehabilitate buildings in communities that were damaged or destroyed by Midwest disasters. Cities throughout Iowa, including Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Bloomfield, Centerville, Corning and Des Moines would all benefit from the extension of these tax breaks.

In 2008, the historic tax credit was raised from 20% to 26% of qualified expenditures for any certified historic structure.  The rehabilitation credit was raised from 10% to 13% of qualified expenditures for certain other buildings undergoing rehabilitation.  Currently, these tax breaks are set to expire on December 31, 2011.  The Rebuilding Communities Act would extend these tax breaks for 3 years, through December 31, 2014.

 
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