U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, grilled officials from the General Services Administration (GSA) during their testimony in front of the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings & Emergency Management on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning.
"The $800,000 spent on this GSA party in Las Vegas should be a farewell party. I think what we need to be talking about is, what do we do without the GSA? In my one year in office, I've seen more waste, fraud, and abuse. It makes me sick. This isn't how the private sector works," Rep. Barletta said.
"Here's a news release for you: Big government doesn't work."
Rep. Barletta, a member of that subcommittee of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, asked GSA employees about an inspector general's report detailing the GSA's Western Region four-day conference in Las Vegas that cost $823,000 -- about $600,000 over budget. Videos, photographs, and reports show GSA administrators and employees partying in lavish 2,200-square-foot hotel suites and racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses for appetizers, drinks, and entertainment. Also, GSA administrators made up fake awards to justify spending tax dollars for extravagant dinners.
During Tuesday morning's hearing, Rep. Barletta heard from the whistleblower who shed light on the abusive practices at GSA.
"GSA administrators go on trips to scout locations for conferences. These scouting trips cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. At what point do other employees at GSA say something is wrong?" Rep. Barletta asked. "People in my district can't afford to take one vacation this year because of the high cost of gas.
"We as a nation are more than $15 trillion in debt, and we have federal employees at the GSA partying it up on the American taxpayer's dime. We in the House have been trying to live within our means by making serious spending cuts across the board, and now we see rogue federal employees spending like there's no tomorrow and laughing about it. It's shameful."