Federal Agencies Fund Conferences to Plot Strategies for More Conference Funding?

Today, Sen. Tom Coburn released a scathing report on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and waste of taxpayer dollars. In the 115 page report, example after example of taxpayer funding abuse is identified and sourced Yet another story of our far flung bureaucrats and their many taxpayer financed boondoggles. According to the Coburn Report “CDC Off Center,” CDC spent $45 million over 5 years for agency-sponsored conferences. “Though professional conferences are essential in many fields, CDC-funded conferences appear to have evolved into an industry unto themselves that year after year meets ââ?¬â?? often in the warmer climates during colder months ââ?¬â?? to decry the lack of spending in their particular field. Even conference participants acknowledge that their colleagues travel from conference to conference essentially talking to each other and fighting each other over the pot of federal funding.” That’s exactly what they do and it needs to stop!!! The report also reminds us of the infamous CDC over-stating of the “obesity epidemic”. You remember, don’t you? It was March of 2004 and the CDC released a report claiming obesity caused 400,000 deaths a year. Citing new data sets, the CDC “adjusted” their obesity related deaths to 25,814 in April of 2005 and then, adjusted them again in June 2005, to a standard of “obesity is still bad” no matter the numbers. Then, we find in the report that the CDC funded a “Bar Night” for a San Francisco AIDS project and a “Manual on How to Throw an Alcohol Party” (pg 104 in the report). This is just too easy! I wonder how our acting anti-alcohol Surgeon General would feel about this? Do you ever wonder if there are staff meetings at HHS? Agenda Item #1 might be, I suggest, “Right hand tell Left Hand what we are doing.” Maybe Congress should set the table for regaining public confidence in government by instituting the recommendations of the Coburn Report. As this “CDC Off Center” report demonstrates, hundreds of millions of tax dollars are used for questionable purposes with often unknown or immeasurable results. For Coburn’s thoughts on how to get the CDC back on track (pg 112) and the complete study click here.

Amanda Kathryn Hydro is the Director of Policy Development at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets.

Hydro is a highly effective grassroots coalition operative with 13 years of experience under her belt. For years she worked within the Republican Party structure advancing freedom utilizing a free market approach. Hydro first became involved in politics in her home state of New Jersey. When she moved to Washington, DC, she served as the Administrator of the Precinct Data Department at the Republican National Committee. There she led a team who compiled and analyzed nationwide precinct data for the redistricting process, the Voter Vault, and various outside agencies. Hydro also worked in Minnesota to elect Republican candidates in 2002. All statewide candidates were successful that cycle except for one which earned her The Best Field Representative Award from the College Republican National Committee.

Afterwards, she was tapped to join Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and head-up the state coalitions operation which she did for two years. As ATR's State Coalitions Manager, Hydro set-up and organized state based center-right coalition meetings in over 40 states. These statewide coalition meetings regularly bring together representatives of market-oriented think tanks, activist groups, issue-oriented organizations, trade associations, CEO's, as well as sympathetic government officials for off-the-record discussions of current political and policy developments. The goal is to create flexible coalitions that can move swiftly to influence specific issues.

In addition, Amanda managed the State Legislative Advisory Project and worked with state legislators nationwide. Hydro was also the liaison between the state coalition meetings and the State Policy Network, the umbrella organization for the state based free market, pro-growth think tanks, of which, Reason is a member. Finally, she communicated with and developed international center-right coalition meetings as well.

In 2005, she was called on to head up the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) as the Executive Director. Hydro was responsible for all day to day operations of the national 527 and under her management the CRNC became one of the top five 527s on the right side of the aisle with 300,000+ members, chapters on over 2,500 college campuses, and a budget of $3MIL. She developed a national communications strategy for year-round press and comprehensive branding; created and customized their national website and was instrumental in building software specific to the CRNC's needs. Hydro also implemented monthly issue campaigns based on free market approaches providing talking points and action steps as well as revamped all aspects of training for staff and members. Additionally, she improved the resources available to members from updating Chapter Boxes filled with tools for effective recruitment to creating training videos to writing the text for a series of resource CDs. Hydro implemented the first Spring Field Program and operated the largest midterm election Field Program in CRNC history. Additionally, she had software developed to create a national job bank, designed and created an online store to provide CRNC branded materials to members and was instrumental in developing software for Operation Big Trunk which provides free websites to all Chapters and State Federations. She was also the administrator for the American members of the International Young Democrat Union, of which, the CRNC is a member.

Hydro was nominated and selected to participate in the Friedrich Naumann Foundation's Study Tour through Bonn, Berlin, and Dusseldorf, Germany for Young American Political Professionals in December of 2005; the theme was "After the Federal Elections in Germany: The New Governments' Challenges and Opportunities and the Impact on Transatlantic Relations." She was an active member of the study tour and continues to work with the Foundation. Hydro is also a member of the National Rifle Association, the National Italian American Foundation's Young Professional Council and The Philadelphia Society. She was recently recognized as a Campaigns and Elections Magazine's 2006 Rising Star and was the first recipient of the Amanda Hydro Award in 1999 which is now awarded annually to a young person in Somerset County, NJ for outstanding leadership and community service. She earned her BA in Politics from The Catholic University of America.