House committee pushes Veterans Affairs Department to improve oversight of conference spending

A year after federal investigators disclosed $762,000 in wasteful spending at Department of Veterans Affairs training conferences, the agency has put into place about half of the recommended changes to keep spending in line.

Investigators in particular are calling for an employee manual that spells out what spending practices are allowed and not allowed at conferences.

The conferences, held in July and August 2011, already have been the subject of congressional hearings and scathing critiques from lawmakers, but Wednesday's hearing before a House oversight committee gave lawmakers the opportunity to review progress.

The inspector general had found that conference planners spent nearly $100,000 on promotional items such as hand sanitizers and pedometers. They spent nearly $50,000 on a video parody of the movie "Patton."