GSA Watchdog Report Exposes Widespread Waste, Fraud and Abuse

Published: Dec 1, 2015

WASHINGTON—Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee commended the work of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Office of the Inspector General (IG) upon release of its Semiannual Report to Congress. During Fiscal Year 2015, the GSA IG issued 85 audit reports, seven (7) audit memoranda, and seven (7) inspection and evaluation reports. The IG opened 161 new investigations and closed 204, made recommendations on over $1.3 billion in funds to be used more effectively, and achieved $243 million in criminal, civil, administrative, and other recoveries.

“In carrying out the Committee’s mission to identify problems, shine light on the situation, and propose reforms to prevent further abuses, this report is a useful tool. The report highlights key areas in need of serious attention to combat waste, fraud, and abuse throughout the agency. Importantly, many issues exposed in the report are areas where the Committee is already actively working. We appreciate the leadership of Inspector General Ochoa and look forward to working with her to resolve these problems,” said Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

 Key findings in the report include:

  • Lost Firearms: GSA administers and coordinates a federal surplus firearms donation program that distributes surplus federal agency firearms to state and local law enforcement agencies (LEAs). GSA used inadequate data management controls which greatly increased vulnerabilities for theft, loss, and unauthorized use.  The program donated over 9,700 firearms including: 4,190 rifles, 4,810 handguns; and 28 grenade launchers.  A total of 411 firearms were reported missing, including 248 that were improperly traded.  Two grenade launchers were sold improperly.  The IG’s evaluation was hampered by GSA as records were difficult to access and when provided, were incomplete.
  • Mismanaged Army Child Care Program: GSA was poorly prepared to handle the transfer of the Army Childcare Subsidy Program. For months, GSA failed to send payments to child care providers of Army families resulting in significant hardships for the families. Additionally, contractors were given inappropriate access to personally-identifiable information (PII) including tax returns, active duty orders, and pay stubs.  The Committee held a hearing in September which examined the ways in which program management broke down, and the negative impact on Army families. The Committee plans to hold additional public hearings on this issue in 2016.
  • Endangered PII: In looking at whether the Agency identified and remedied sensitive data access vulnerabilities in the GSA cloud computing environment, the IG found five of eight recommendations have not been implemented.  This is particularly troubling given GSA’s key role in promoting the federal government’s Cloud First policy.  The security of GSA’s cloud computing environment is critically important in protecting GSA and other agencies’ PII – and in facilitating IT modernization by moving to the cloud.  This is an area of particular interest and concern for the Committee as evidenced by recent hearings with the Department of Education and the Department of the Interior.