Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today strongly criticized the US General Services Administration (GSA) for allowing the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars in connection with a conference held at a luxury Las Vegas casino in 2010. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing this afternoon to investigate the scandal. Braley is a member of the committee.
In 2007, Braley led questioning of another GSA employee accused of wrongdoing who was called to testify before Congress. GSA Administrator Lurita Doan was ultimately forced to resign for improperly holding political briefings on federal property.
"The GSA won't need a mind reader to know my feelings about their weekend in Vegas: it was an utter and complete waste of taxpayer dollars," Braley said. "It's unconscionable that while taxpayers are struggling through a recession, a federal agency is wasting their money on fancy catered meals and luxury hotels in Las Vegas. Something's got to change -- and every person responsible for this outrageous behavior needs to be held fully accountable."
On April 2nd, the GSA Inspector General issued a report highlighting "excessive, wasteful, and impermissible" spending in connection with a regional conference held at the M Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2010. The report found that costs for the conference exceeded $800,000, including $75,000 paid for a bicycle-building project, excessive spending ($146,000) on meals, and over $136,000 in planning costs for the conference, including hotel stays at the Ritz Carlton Las Vegas.
The report prompted GSA Administrator Martha Johnson to resign.
Other improper spending at the conference included a clown, a mind reader, and a comedian.
The GSA Inspector General has asked the Department of Justice to consider criminal charges against GSA employee and event organizer Jeffrey E. Neely. Neely was subpoenaed to testify before the Oversight Committee today.