In 2009, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) urged the White House and individual federal agencies to lift government travel bans on “cities known as resort towns” like Las Vegas — the site of a controversial $823,000 General Services Administration conference in 2010.
Reid and then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel exchanged letters in the summer of 2009, with Reid urging the administration to publicly support government meetings and conferences in cities like Las Vegas. Emanuel wrote to Reid that he agreed that “federal policy should not dictate the location where government events are held.”
Reid also solicited commitments from two dozen federal agencies to not discriminate against any city in choosing sites for their events and posted their letters of support to his Senate website. One of those agencies to write a letter to Reid was the GSA.