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Tab For AIDS Conference Half A Million Dollars

While former President Bill Clinton is making headlines at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) is stateside, arguing that the thing is a waste of taxpayer money. He’s out with a report today that puts the cost of sending 116 federal employees to the conference at nearly half a million dollars, including a $100,000 registration fee and $80,000 for airfare.

Coburn is the ranking member of the Federal Financial Management Subcommittee and released the report today. The global political cost of skipping the conference might have been extremely high, but Coburn argues that the money could have been used to “prevent 59,136 newborns from becoming infected with HIV” or could have provided treatment to every American now on a waiting list for AIDS drugs (there are 35 of them).