On the heels of the recently reported GSA junket in Las Vegas, U.S. Rep. John Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, sent a joint letter today to the General Services Administration (GSA) Inspector General (IG) requesting internal reports and information on the previously undisclosed "Hats Off Program" under which GSA employees received award points for dubious reasons and redeemed them for taxpayer funded electronics and gift cards.
"Over the course of the past few days, some of the outrageous spending habits of the GSA have surfaced, and it is unbelievable," said Chairman Mica. "First, it was reported that the agency spent $800,000 on a lavish training conference in Las Vegas, and yesterday we learned of an equally over the top employee award program that handed out $200,000 worth of taxpayer funded iPods, electronics, and gift cards for questionable reasons at best.
"All of this taxpayer money is being wasted and GSA is sitting on our assets with thousands of empty and underutilized federal buildings across the country, costing Americans $1.7 billion each year," Chairman Mica continued.
Denham added, "The Obama Administration thinks it can treat hardworking taxpayer dollars like their own private slush fund. Not on my watch. The arrogance of giving away a grab bag of free stuff to its employees instead of effectively managing our federal properties is a disgrace. There must be serious consequences for this type of blatant waste of taxpayer dollars, and the Committee intends to hold those responsible fully accountable."
The Subcommittee that Denham chairs is scheduled to hold a hearing on April 19th to further examine the outrageous spending habits of the GSA. Mica and Denham requested the Inspector General's internal investigative report of the Hats Off Program after learning of it from an April 4 Inspector General briefing of committee staff. The committee learned GSA's Region 9 spent at least $200,000 handing out iPods, gift cards, and other items to employees for dubious reasons that had little or no relation to employee performance.