U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)-who began investigating wasteful spending at the General Services Administration (GSA) in 2010-was joined today by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) in introducing legislation to create better safeguards against such waste and install strong new measures for accountability across the federal government.
"With this legislation, we're aiming to make sure that agency leaders can't just shrug off responsibility for wrongdoing, and to see that employees who betray the public's trust by wasting taxpayer dollars are punished, not rewarded for bad behavior," said McCaskill, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight. "A lot of folks are understandably cynical that Congress can work together to get anything done-but accountability in government is a value that crosses party lines, and I'm glad to have Senator Ayotte's support in this effort."
McCaskill and Ayotte's Stop Wasteful Federal Bonuses and Conferences Act would:
Punish Bad Behavior: Federal agencies would be barred from giving bonuses to employees whose conduct has been determined, by an Inspector General or equivalent, to have resulted in fraud, waste, or abuse of taxpayer dollars, or a violation of contracting law.
Claw-back Bonuses Paid: If a bonus is paid to an employee prior to an adverse decision by an Inspector General during the same year of the decision, federal agencies are given the authority to require the return of that bonus.
Agency Accountability for Conferences: Conferences costing more than $200,000 would need approval by the agency head or designee (such as a Chief Management Officer).
Reporting Requirements: Federal agencies sponsoring conferences would be required to report to Congress, on an annual basis, detailed information on such conferences.
McCaskill, a former Missouri State Auditor, recently revealed findings from her investigations showing that in just the past few years the GSA had paid more than $1 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses to employees being investigated by the Inspector General for wrongdoing or misconduct.