GSA Spending Scandal: Execs To Testify At Hearing On Wasting Money In Las Vegas

 @LauraMatt
on April 16 2012 10:34 AM

The General Services Administration, or GSA, will undergo a series of hearings this week that will take a deeper look into its culture of wasteful spending.

Four congressional hearings are planned and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will begin the initial hearing at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

Darrell Issa, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman, announced the hearing last week, to examine the agency's Inspector General report, which stated that the GSA spent nearly $823,000 at a Last Vegas resort for a convention in 2010.

The two House and two Senate committees are expected to probe beyond the more than $800,000 spent at the Las Vegas conference.

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson has resigned and the agency dismissed her top deputies in wake of the report.

Additionally, GSA's executive Jeffery Neely has been subpoenaed to appear at Monday's meeting after refusing to testify voluntarily. Neely's lawyer has told the media that his client will assert his right to remain silent at the hearing.

Neely could face a possible criminal investigation, according to the Associated Press. He was the executive responsible for the October 2010 conference at the Las Vegas resort. GSA's new leadership has placed Neely on leave.

Brian D. Miller, GSA inspector general, is expected to testify at the hearing. Other testimonies will come from Johnson, former GSA administrator; Michael J. Robertson, GSA chief of staff; and David E. Foley, deputy commissioner, Public Buildings Service of the GSA.

The Washington Post reported that Neely told investigators that a private party he threw in his Las Vegas hotel suite for $2,717 was an employee-awards event.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), has been asking how it is that things got so out of hand, said that Neely tried to use private business practices to justify spending that is out of line with the private sector.

This notion that you can have over-the-top conferences with all kind of bells and whistles because you're emulating the private sector is nonsense, she added, noting that Neely and his staff thought they were above scrutiny.

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