There have been several stories flying around — one was that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had actually pulled her name off the nomination list because, as the story goes, GSA had told agencies that the government could not travel to Las Vegas in Reid’s home state. In fact, the WSJ had this report on July 22:
Instead, employees at some big agencies, like the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are being encouraged to host meetings in more buttoned-down places such as St. Louis, Milwaukee or Denver….
Earlier this month, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the chamber’s majority leader, expressed concern to the White House about a prohibition on government travel to resort destinations. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel wrote back saying that government travel “is not focused on specific destinations,” but on cost and efficiency.
The General Services Administration, which sets the amount government employees can spend per day at each destination, has no ban on locations.
But some agencies appear to be instituting their own guidelines that dictate where events should be held.
According to an Agriculture Department employee familiar with the guidelines, the agency issued internal travel guidelines in the spring that encourage employees to hold meetings in cities that display three key attributes: a travel hub; low in cost; and “a non-resort location.” The employee said cities on the list with those three attributes included Chicago; Denver; Portland, Ore.; St. Louis; Washington, D.C.; Milwaukee; Phoenix and Fort Collins, Colo.
Resort locations aren’t banned, “but you have to provide robust justification” to supervisors for approval to hold an event there, the employee said.