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Cancel meeting in 'paradise,' senators say

By Associated Press

POSTED:



Political controversy persists over a conference planned for federal judges on Maui, with two Republican senators calling for the event to be canceled or at least scaled back.

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Ala­bama and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who have been questioning the need to hold the August conference at a "far-flung island paradise," sent another letter Friday to the chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"During this time of extraordinary debt, and given the history of opulence — including repeated trips to the Hawaiian Islands — we believe you should cancel the million-dollar conference," the letter said. "Failing that, ample opportunities to scale back costs at this event and at future conferences remain."

The conference also was held on Maui two years ago, in Hono­lulu in 2007 and on Kauai in 2003. It's also been held on Kauai in 1977 and 1983, in 1987 on Hawaii island and on Maui in 1991.

The court, one step below the Supreme Court, has said the gathering will be for serious business meetings and that the venue is within the circuit's jurisdiction. The court serves Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington as well as Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

But Sessions, ranking member of the Budget Committee, and Grassley, ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, said the court's response wasn't sensitive to the costs involved.

Chief Judge Alex Kozin­ski wrote to the senators last month that Maui was picked for its competitive room rates and cheaper travel costs because of the number of airlines serving Hawaii. He wrote that at $230 per night, the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa compares favorably with similarly sized hotels in Anchorage, Alaska, and Sun Valley, Idaho, as well as several California destinations.

Friday's letter requests information for the circuit's 2008-through-2013 conferences including contracts and receipts, and the names and duties of the employees attending the Maui conference, along with the dates they'll be in Hawaii.

A spokesman for the circuit didn't immediately comment on the latest letter.






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bender wrote:
Obviously Chief Judge Alex Kozin­ski is out of touch if he thinks airfare to Hawaii is cheaper than a short flight on the mainland, and if he thinks $230 per night is competitive. Let them stay a motel 6 or Holiday in. They don't need to stay at a spa. I guess he has the same mindset as the GSA people. I guess the Chief Judge doesn't care about taxpayer money, only his own personal perks.
on July 14,2012 | 08:10AM
poidragon wrote:
and what makes you thing that Senators Grassley and Sessions or any member of congress don't do the same thing when they go on junkets? They expect to be feted and pampered as befits their 'station and importance' and live off the peoples dime........such hypocrisy is the hall mark of the GoP and the rest of Congress, they don't like it when other branches infringe on their 'turf!'
on July 14,2012 | 01:23PM
hebi wrote:
Poor Sen. Sessions & Grassley, probably sulking over the fact that Alabama & Iowa don't get their share of meetings & conventions. Yeah, like I believe these senators only stay at Motel 6 when they're on the government dime. It's just them playing politics...typical bashing by the right of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals with its relatively large number of judges appointed by Democratic Presidents.
on July 14,2012 | 09:12AM
poidragon wrote:
Congress is guilty of telling everyone else 'to do as I say, not as I do!' Such hypocrisy from members of Congress is unbecoming and unprofessional; especially when Congress itself continues to delay the creation of a balanced federal budge, continues to provide slovenly leadership at a time when it is needed to guide the country back to prosperity; does nothing at all about seeking solutions to the anemic economic recovery or job creations! Yet they have the gall to tell the judiciary to cut back on their conference being held on Maui; its time to slap some sense into the members of Congress and put them in their place, once and for all and show them 'just who they are working for!'
on July 14,2012 | 01:17PM
entrkn wrote:
Are Grassley and Sessions throwing rocks from corporate jets provided by their GOP corporate backers?
on July 18,2012 | 11:45AM
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