A high-ranking General Services Administration (GSA) official associated with the agency's 2010 lavish conference in Las Vegas billed the taxpayers for an extra night at the swanky hotel where the conference was held, according to information from the GSA Inspector General's office.
According to transcripts from the IG, the GSA official, who was scouting the hotel location for the conference being planned, stayed four nights at the M Resort, Spa and Casino. While the first three nights were billed as government travel, the official added the fourth night as a personal day. For that fourth night, the official paid the government rate of $93, while the overage for the suite, which cost more than $1,000 per night, was apparently charged to the taxpayer.
"The fact that taxpayers were going to be paying more than $800,000 for this government conference is outrageous enough, but apparently charging taxpayers so one of the officials responsible for this boondoggle could add a personal day to this Vegas vacation is the icing on the cake," said U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-FL), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
"As we continue to learn of GSA's extreme misuse of funds, now adding personal vacation stays in Vegas to our taxpayers' tabs, there must be serious action for the outrageous spending habits of the General Services Administration," said U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), Chairman of the Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee.
Information from the GSA IG investigation also demonstrates that 50 GSA employees apparently were given cash awards of between $500 and $1,000 in recognition of their work in putting together the conference in Las Vegas.
"It would also appear that a number of GSA bureaucrats who helped arrange the Las Vegas junket were handed cash bonuses for their work in wasting the better part of a million dollars," Mica said.
"This appears to be fraud, plain and simple, and the American people deserve to know what's going on with their tax dollars," Denham added.
Denham and Mica will lead a Congressional oversight hearing entitled "GSA's Squandering of Taxpayer Dollars: A Pattern of Mismanagement, Excess and Waste" at 8:30 a.m. next Tuesday, April 17, 2012 in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building.