(Image source: C-SPAN)

 

BY JIM FLINK


Bureaucrats Behaving Badly. It’s one headline from today’s General Services Administration grilling before Congress.


For a taste of it — here’s Fox News.

Issa: "Did you attend the 2010 Western Regional Conference in Las Vegas.”
Neely: “Mr. Chairman.  On the advice of my counsel, I respectfully decline to answer based upon my 5th Amendment Constitutional privilege.”


So was Neely there? ABC News has pictures of GSA official Jeff Neely, reportedly with wine and hot tub in play in Vegas.


And it ticks off some of the expenses the GSA allegedly racked up.

“GSA employees conducted two ‘scouting trips,’ five off-site planning meetings, and a ‘dry run’ ...  Travel expenses for conference planning totaled  $100,405.37, and catering costs totaled over $30,000.”

And not surprisingly, The Washington Post notes, it didn’t go through the standard approval process.

“The contracts were not competitively bid, as federal rules require.  They include $75,000 to a company that ran a bike-building exercise for conference attendees; 25 bikes were donated to a local Boys and Girls Club in violation of federal rules. A $58,000 contract for audio-visual services also was not competitively bid.”

The outrage is reverberating inside and outside the beltway. MSNBC reports — both Democrats and Republicans are doing something they have a hard time doing: agreeing.

“A very strong showing of bi-partisanship.”
“And they’ve been working very closely on this and speaking in almost one voice, and saying they don’t want immunity.”


Bipartisanship? The Christian Science Monitor reports, no one has a problem piling on here.

“...who is going to miss an opportunity to beat up on Bureaucrats Behaving Badly?  With ‘government waste’ about the only thing in Washington that gets bipartisan support for being cut, it’s no small wonder that both sides of the aisle are piling on.”

But is this just the tip of the iceberg? That’s where the investigation has turned. CNN talks with one analyst who says, too many people knew too much.

“There was kind of a culture of corruption at the GSA.”
“Every employee was a little complicit in this in the sense that they all knew that this was an abuse, and laughing about it.”


The inspector investigating what happened is recommending full criminal charges, and no immunity.
Saying, the culture went beyond corruption, to intimidation.  Here’s The Washington Examiner.

“The inspector general said that Jeff Neely, the GSA official who organized the $800,000 Las Vegas conference in 2010, engaged in ‘bullying’ of employees who ‘crossed’ him. Miller recalled a confidential witness against Neely who was ‘extremely afraid that even in her new job she would experience retaliation.’”

ABC reports, Monday’s hearings were the first of at least four scheduled on Capitol Hill this week.
 

Congress Grills GSA Execs on Excessive Spending

by Jim Flink
0
Transcript
Apr 17, 2012

Congress Grills GSA Execs on Excessive Spending

(Image source: C-SPAN)

 

BY JIM FLINK


Bureaucrats Behaving Badly. It’s one headline from today’s General Services Administration grilling before Congress.


For a taste of it — here’s Fox News.

Issa: "Did you attend the 2010 Western Regional Conference in Las Vegas.”
Neely: “Mr. Chairman.  On the advice of my counsel, I respectfully decline to answer based upon my 5th Amendment Constitutional privilege.”


So was Neely there? ABC News has pictures of GSA official Jeff Neely, reportedly with wine and hot tub in play in Vegas.


And it ticks off some of the expenses the GSA allegedly racked up.

“GSA employees conducted two ‘scouting trips,’ five off-site planning meetings, and a ‘dry run’ ...  Travel expenses for conference planning totaled  $100,405.37, and catering costs totaled over $30,000.”

And not surprisingly, The Washington Post notes, it didn’t go through the standard approval process.

“The contracts were not competitively bid, as federal rules require.  They include $75,000 to a company that ran a bike-building exercise for conference attendees; 25 bikes were donated to a local Boys and Girls Club in violation of federal rules. A $58,000 contract for audio-visual services also was not competitively bid.”

The outrage is reverberating inside and outside the beltway. MSNBC reports — both Democrats and Republicans are doing something they have a hard time doing: agreeing.

“A very strong showing of bi-partisanship.”
“And they’ve been working very closely on this and speaking in almost one voice, and saying they don’t want immunity.”


Bipartisanship? The Christian Science Monitor reports, no one has a problem piling on here.

“...who is going to miss an opportunity to beat up on Bureaucrats Behaving Badly?  With ‘government waste’ about the only thing in Washington that gets bipartisan support for being cut, it’s no small wonder that both sides of the aisle are piling on.”

But is this just the tip of the iceberg? That’s where the investigation has turned. CNN talks with one analyst who says, too many people knew too much.

“There was kind of a culture of corruption at the GSA.”
“Every employee was a little complicit in this in the sense that they all knew that this was an abuse, and laughing about it.”


The inspector investigating what happened is recommending full criminal charges, and no immunity.
Saying, the culture went beyond corruption, to intimidation.  Here’s The Washington Examiner.

“The inspector general said that Jeff Neely, the GSA official who organized the $800,000 Las Vegas conference in 2010, engaged in ‘bullying’ of employees who ‘crossed’ him. Miller recalled a confidential witness against Neely who was ‘extremely afraid that even in her new job she would experience retaliation.’”

ABC reports, Monday’s hearings were the first of at least four scheduled on Capitol Hill this week.
 

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