Fresh off the Las Vegas conference scandal that cost the General Services Administration (GSA) chief her job, House investigators have learned of a one-day GSA awards ceremony that cost over $270,000 in 2010.
“Preliminary information we have received from the Inspector General indicates this GSA mega-waste conference held on November 17, 2010 cost taxpayers more than a quarter of a million dollars and rivals the lavish conference in Las Vegas a month earlier,” said House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman John Mica, R-Fla., in a statement today.
He noted that “GSA spent more than $20,000 on drumsticks for attendees, $28,000 on time temperature picture frames, and $7,800 on shadowbox picture frames.”
The entertainment at the awards ceremony, held in Washington D.C., surpassed the entertainment in Las Vegas. “Instead of clowns and mind readers, we’ve got violinists and guitarists – GSA has really classed up their act,” said Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., who chairs the Subcommittte on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management. “We want to see exactly how far up this goes and how widespread this type of waste and corruption is within government. There’s got to be other agencies out there doing this, and we plan to continue investigating until we uncover and put a stop to all instances of wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars.”
The GSA IG’s initial estimate is that the ceremony cost a total of $268,732, according to Mica’s office. The Las Vegas conference cost over $800,000 and resulted in the resignation of GSA head Martha Johnson.