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GSA Corruption More Far Reaching Than Suspected, Says Lawmaker, Watchdog Group – OpEd

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The scandal of the General Services Administration (GSA) and its Las Vegas adventure on the taxpayers’ dime is only a small part of that agency’s — and the entire massive federal government’s — tidal wave of corruption, mismanagement and waste, according to a top Congressman and officials from one of the nations most respected government corruption watchdogs.

According to Judicial Watch, the overall questions are: Why didn’t Congress act sooner to set limits on the GSA’s manic spending sprees? Why did it take a public scandal with lots of mainstream media coverage for lawmakers—especially those responsible for the agency’s oversight—to finally threaten to take action?

The GSA is one of the federal government’s largest agencies, with an annual budget of nearly $45 billion. It’s one of the of the government’s central management agencies and handles everything from office space for the feds to communication and purchasing for government installations.

According to its mandate, it’s also responsible for contracting outside services such as building security, janitorial and maintenance services, and construction projects involving federal agencies and their properties.

Ironically, the GSA touts itself as an “innovation engine” that helps the government cut costs, according to Judicial Watch.

“The news of a lavish conference the GSA held for its employees in Las Vegas has further tarnished the reputation of the federal government and caused many observers to ponder the stewardship of government resources by the Obama Administration,” said political strategist and attorney Mike Baker.

It cost taxpayers nearly $1 million and featured luxury accommodations for employees and their loved ones, fine cuisine, parties and expensive gifts, according to the GSA’s Inspector General’s Report.

The scathing IG report revealed a “gross misuse of taxpayer dollars” on an internal conference that was “excessive, wasteful, and in some cases impermissible,” according to Judicial Watch.In addition, dozens of agency workers were awarded cash bonuses for arranging the costly event.

The IG’s report — coupled with the reaction of talk radio hosts, Internet news and commentary web sites, and Fox News Channel — has inspired Congress to finally “investigate” the GSA. In fact, next week the House committee that has oversight jurisdiction over the GSA will hold a special hearing to address the agency’s “outrageous wasteful spending.”

The Florida congressman organizing the session, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, now reveals that the GSA has a lengthy history of wasting taxpayer dollars, according to Judicial Watch.

In 2010, investigations revealed that GSA paid $234,000 to a Kansas City public relations firm to manage negative publicity that GSA was receiving as a result of mismanagement of their own internal investigations.

In fact, Mica says the GSA’s mismanagement of federal property has cost American taxpayers billions of dollars. “GSA’s habitual mismanagement of taxpayer-owned assets is what makes spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a conference for bureaucrats so appalling,” the congressman said in statement posted on his web site.

Mica added that for years GSA’s top bosses have stonewalled congressional requests for administrative costs, clearly indicating that lawmakers have known for some time about the corruption inside the agency.

“Why, then, hasn’t Congress bothered to take action before the Vegas scandal ignited so much public outrage?” asks Judicial Watch.

“But can we blame only GSA bosses and staff? Perhaps we should look at how Obama, his White House staff, and his family cavalierly spend taxpayers’ money on trips, parties, and living the high-life on the taxpayers’ dime. Obama is so big on being fair, so what’s fair about taking a building janitor’s hard earned money and using it to play a few rounds of golf in Hawaii?” asked Mike Baker.

Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP, formerly Fifth Vice-President, is currently a Board Member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, an editor for ConservativeBase.com, and he's a columnist for Examiner.com. In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB (www.kgab.com). Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty.

2 thoughts on “GSA Corruption More Far Reaching Than Suspected, Says Lawmaker, Watchdog Group – OpEd

  • Avatar
    April 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm
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    Just another case of entitlement-mentality that has swept our country by storm.

    VOTE FOR UUR FUTURE, VOTE RON PAUL!
    WE STAND WITH ISRAEL!
    SPEAK OUT AGAINST TYRANNY!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    April 23, 2012 at 12:33 am
    Permalink

    I worked for a federal agency for years. I was convinced that good stewardship of taxpayer dollars wasn’t in the culture of bureaucrats at any level. It isn’t their money.

    Some agencies are always flush with cash. Others not. But in every agency there is a mentality toward unspent money at the end of the year. Rather than return money unspent, bureacrats apply the “spend it or lose it” philosophy. This includes spending it on anything just to get rid of it. Flat screen televisions mounted on walls in hallways, new office chairs when the old ones were still fine, new telephones, regularly refurbishing offices, etc. Bureaucrats know that spending less this year means getting less next year. This is viewed as unacceptable.

    When I first began as a fed, government cars were very basic, often with no radio. By the time I retired they were using 4-door pickup trucks with all of the extras including alloy wheels. The extras are a “need” for today’s bureaucrats.

    The GSA scandal isn’t just the hallmark of the Obama administration, as the right wing critics have seized upon. I saw poor stewardship of taxpayer dollars at all levels of government for DECADES. There’s a lot more fat to trim and government culture needs revised. I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I doubt the winner of the 2012 election will fix it.

    Reply

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