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GOP senators question judicial conference on Maui

HONOLULU (AP) – Two key Republican U.S. senators are raising concerns about the cost of holding a conference for federal judges on Maui this summer.

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa question the need to hold the August conference at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, with activities offered including surfing lessons, snorkeling, yoga and Zumba.

Grassley says it’s “tone-deaf” to plan an expensive conference after the controversy surrounding the General Services Administration’s lavish 2010 conference in Las Vegas.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority defends the islands as being a place to hold productive and quality meetings.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says lodging and airfare costs are comparable to mainland venues and government funds aren’t to be used for recreational activities.

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