Addressing GSA’s Culture of Wasteful Spending
1:30pm on Monday, April 16, 2012 in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building
The details that have come to light about a General Services Administration Conference held in Las Vegas have raised serious questions in the minds of the American people about how government is using their tax dollars. What has come to light surrounding GSA’s activities should give pause to anyone who has opposed cutting government size and spending.
Wasteful spending is a problem that transcends multiple Administrations and multiple Congresses but it’s incumbent on the present Administration and the current Congress to mandate a culture that prevents this type of waste and mismanagement, no matter what happened before them.
Why did it take eleven months for the Obama Administration to take meaningful action? The Inspector General briefed the Administration with details about the specific action of those responsible for gross waste, yet documents show that some political appointees believed even this year that the report could be kept private and the outrageous details dealt with quietly.
Some of those same senior political officials approved a bonus for Jeff Neely, the regional public building commissioner who was chief organizer of the 2010 Vegas conference. In the same e-mails where senior leaders are discussing whether or not to offer Neely a bonus, they are speculating on the timing of the release of the IG’s report and the political impact it will have.
Furthermore, if the political officials responsible for taming bureaucratic excess ignored and dismissed such flagrant and flamboyant violations of the rules, then what confidence do we have that GSA can prevent more shrewdly executed fraud and waste the future?
I look forward to hearing testimony from the witnesses attending Monday’s hearing as the committee continues its ongoing efforts to shine a light on a culture of wasteful spending within the federal bureaucracy. Changes have been made at GSA, but whether they are enough to change a culture of lavish excess remains in question.