The media recently has detailed the existence of a “blacklist” circulating among federal agencies singling out “inappropriate locations” for government meetings. Officials speculate that some leisure destinations have been designated as off limits, not due to the price of traveling or hosting meetings there, but because doing so could create potential image problems for the government agencies involved. According to sources, destinations on the list include Las Vegas, Nev.; Orlando and Miami, Fla.; and Aspen, Colo.
Status (as of 9/16/09)
The AGA is working with the U.S. Travel Association and supporters of the travel and gaming industries in Congress to ensure that the federal government does not engage in discriminatory behavior when making decisions on meetings and events.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has written to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Attorney General Eric Holder urging them to issue a directive or letter to federal agencies reversing the informal policy that prohibits or discourages government meetings in Las Vegas and other cities that have been deemed inappropriate. He also introduced legislation in the Senate, The Protecting Resort Cities from Discrimination Act of 2009 (S. 1530), which would prohibit internal policies that discourage the selection of resort or vacation destinations as conference or event locations. The bill currently has three cosponsors.
In addition to efforts in the Senate, a bi-partisan group of House members sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office asking for an investigation into the informal federal policy.