Two top ranking Democratic Members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee today commended Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangerlini for blowing the whistle on additional abuses of taxpayer money at the agency. Earlier this month Tangerlini called upon the GSA's Inspector General to investigate lavish spending at a November 2010 agency performance award ceremony. The IG, Brian Miller, today filed a preliminary report on the matter with the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
"It is deeply troubling to learn that more than a quarter million dollars in hard earned taxpayer money was wasted so that certain GSA employees could congratulate themselves," said U.S. Representative Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), top Democrat on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "These outrageous expenditures included more than $20,000 for drumsticks, $8,000 for an appearance by someone called "Agent X', and a host of other frivolous expenses. Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini should be commended for referring this violation of the public trust to the Inspector General, and Committee Democrats are asking for a detailed accounting of this matter."
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) Ranking Member on Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management said, "I am astonished and deeply disappointed at the discovery of these new violations by GSA officials. The squandering of these taxpayer funds almost two years ago, occurred about the same time as the infamous western regional conference, when millions of Americans were still feeling the effects of the 2008 financial crisis. As Ranking Member of the subcommittee of jurisdiction, I am asking the Inspector General to keep us closely informed of his findings as the investigation proceeds."
The Inspector General informed the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management that an investigation is being launched into a $268,732 taxpayer funded awards ceremony for GSA employees. According to the preliminary findings of the Inspector General, the November 2010 event at Crystal City Gateway Marriot included expenses of more than $35,000 for picture frames, $20,000 in catering charges as well as funding for a violinist and guitarist.
This latest fiasco follows on the heels to the GSA Inspector General's April 2, 2012 revelation that the agency spent $822,751 of taxpayer funds to conduct the Western Regions Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the report, the IG found that "many of the expenditures on this conference were excessive and wasteful and that in many instances GSA followed neither federal procurement laws nor its own policy on conference spending."
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT