NOAA pulls ad for training event magician

May 4, 2012 at 10:44 AM

WASHINGTON, May 4 (UPI) -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration pulled an ad seeking a magician to appear at a staff training event, saying it would investigate the matter.

The help-wanted solicitation, which sought a person who could use "physical energizers, magic tricks, puzzles [and] brain teasers" for the leadership training event, was slammed by Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., as a waste of taxpayer funds, CNN reported Thursday.

The NOAA ad came to light as Washington was still reeling from a scandal at the General Services Administration related to a 2010 employee conference in Las Vegas that cost taxpayers $830,000 and has been decried as a waste of federal funds.

Brown released a copy of the ad, calling it "taxpayer abuse, pure and simple."

Brown said he urged Commerce Secretary John Bryson to cancel "these frivolous plans" immediately.

"This is a low point even by Washington standards and an insult to the fishing families that have been harmed by NOAA's over-regulation and attitude of indifference," Brown said in a statement.

Brown has been highly critical about what he says is too much regulation of the fishing industry in his state, CNN said.

NOAA said in a statement it removed the want ad and referred the matter to its general counsel and the head of Resource and Operations Management.

"No speakers have been hired or confirmed for this training session," NOAA Deputy Director Scott Smullen said in the statement.

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