Homeland Security officials racked up $110 million in conference expenses from 2005 to 2007, according to an inspector general's report, and the department has established few controls for such travel. At $30 million, the Coast Guard's conference expenses were the highest within DHS, followed by Immigration and Custom Enforcement, then the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "DHS has a mission to protect the homeland, and to do that, legitimate travel is clearly appropriate," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. But Thompson said it was "unacceptable" that DHS has no limits and few reporting requirements for conference spending.

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