“The House Democratic Caucus spent more than $500,000 in taxpayer money over the past five years for its annual retreats at resorts in Pennsylvania and Virginia,” Susan Crabtree reports for The Hill.

“On Thursday, Democrats will head to the Kingsmill Resort and Spa in historic Williamsburg, Va., for the three-day planning powwow. The resort boasts multiple championship golf courses, a full-service spa and six restaurants,” Crabtree reports.

“Individual lawmakers pay for most of the expenses related to retreat lodging through their campaign committees, but the Democratic Caucus subsidizes some of the costs for what aides consider ‘official business’ — to the tune of nearly $100,000 each year, according to a Democratic aide involved in retreat planning,” Crabtree reports.

“The topic is particularly sensitive this year after several Democratic lawmakers slammed American International Group (AIG) executives for spending more than $440,000 at a company retreat in Monarch Beach, Calif., just days after the federal government bailed the company out with $85 billion in taxpayer funds,” Crabtree reports. “Several Democratic lawmakers also excoriated banking and financial companies for flying in corporate jets to Washington to testify before several committees about their need for billions more in bailout money.”

Crabtree reports, “Besides Obama, Biden and three other Cabinet secretaries, Democrats this year are hosting Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who will talk about stimulating the economy through technology and innovation.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ballmer talking about innovation? What’s on tap for next year, a business ethics discussion hosted by Bernie Madoff followed by Tom Daschle on tax preparation? If it was up to us, we’d have gone with Jenna Jameson on abstinence.

Seriously, Balmer can’t even figure out how to stimulate his own company’s stock price, much less explain how to do so for the entire economy. His idea of innovation is: take whatever Apple does, eff it all up backwards and sideways, then make sure it gets pre-installed.

Now, maybe, just maybe, they got Uncle Fester there for the entertainment value alone and won’t be relying on his sage-free advice? Or perhaps they plan to do exactly the opposite of whatever Balmy recommends? If latter, there’s hope for this economy yet; it’ll be taxpayers’ money well-spent.