Skip to comments.House panel kicks off wave of hearings on GSA spending controversy (Here comes the "Bush's fault")
Posted on 04/16/2012 3:27:09 AM PDT by tobyhill
Congress will kick off a wave of what are likely to be contentious hearings Monday on the spending habits of the General Services Administration, as lawmakers try to uncover how the agency blew through $820,000 on a Las Vegas conference.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, one of four panels probing the incident, has set the first hearing for Monday afternoon. The panel has called some of the top current and former GSA officials to testify, though at least one is expected to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions.
Lawmakers at this point are looking beyond the 2010 conference itself and into other areas where the agency may have spent money imprudently, such as on employee incentive programs. The hearing will surely fuel the controversy, which has expanded almost daily as new details emerge about the decision-making at the top levels of the GSA.
Among those on the witness list Monday are GSA Inspector General Brian Miller and former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, who resigned in the wake of the inspector general's report on the conference.
The head of the GSA western region who organized the conference, Jeffrey Neely, has said through an attorney that he plans to plead the Fifth. His attorney says Neely doesn't need to come to D.C., but Issa insists he should appear anyway.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Obviously, the GSA PAID for THEIR prostitutes.
Bread and circuses.
Until the people rise up and demand that we the people conduct the hearings, congressional hearings will do nothing but find scapegoats and hide dirt.
On Thursday, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) served a subpoena to require Jeff Neely to appear before the committee, according to Democratic committee documents obtained by POLITICO. Neelys attorney on Friday informed the committee Neely will exercise his right against self-incrimination and requested not to attend the hearing.
Requiring Mr. Neely to travel from California to appear before the Committee when you have been advised that he will not answer any substantive questions posed to him does not advance any legitimate Committee purpose, the attorney wrote, according to the documents.
(Also on POLITICO: GSA chief was set to visit Solyndra)
Issa wrote Neelys lawyer Friday to advise the attorney and Neely that the subpoena remains in effect.
Mr. Neely is uniquely qualified to answer questions about the WRC, Issa wrote. The Committee requires Mr. Neelys appearance because of, among other reasons, the possibility that he will waive or not assert the privilege as to some or all questions.
Neelys attorney later Friday confirmed Neely will attend the hearing.
Neely may also face a Justice Department investigation into allegations of theft and contracting violations, according to The Washington Post.
Emails the committee obtained from Neely also indicate he reached out to what appears to be a personal friend to attend a party in a suite on the last night of the junket at the M Resort Spa & Casino. We will get you guys a room near us and we will pick up the room tab. Could be a blast, Neely wrote, according to the documents.
If you come we typically host a nice happy hour in my suite one night (with u and the boys as part of it). I know. I am bad. But as deb and I say often, why not enjoy it while we have it and while we can. Aint going to last forever, Neely continued, referring to his wife.
and go to jail for stealing!
Among other things, Issa said Neely and others were “taking lots of trips with their families for vacation weekends and billing it to preparation for this conference.”
One of the central questions Issa says he has is this: Why was Johnson briefed on the investigation about the conference 11 months ago and sat on the information? Issa says he does not know whether Johnson made the White House aware, but he says that’s irrelevant since she was an Obama appointee.
He argued a big problem at the GSA is the way they report their budgets, which he says makes them murky and hard to decipher.
“For example, there were 10 trips costing $172,000 from that $800,000 that were just people going out and basically having party weekends in the planning process, and if you look into where the excesses were that are not being reported, it’s not just the clown, it’s also the people that had vacation weekends with their family again and again and again in the name of this conference. It is hard to find that in a top line figure. It’s what the IG helped us find,” said Issa.
Before we left, Issa brought us into another aide’s office to show us two other things the GSA inspector general help find: a coin GSA officials made to commemorate their lavish Las Vegas conference, which cost taxpayers $6,300, and a souvenir book, which cost $8,000.
FYI..hearing will be broadcast LIVE on C-span 3 at 1:30 PM EST
Does anyone on FreeRepublic think that there are stories like this across many departments in the government - I mean, if the secret service is doing it too, what is the likely possibility that it happens at EPA, the pentagon or FBI? It is time for our conservative republicans in the House to start at top to bottom study of how the money is realy spent and CUT it budgets. Heck even Paul Ryan’s budget grows by billions.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
What could go wrong?.
Thanks! I will try to listen to it!
Neeley is goona have a really bad day..he will have to sit there and take the 5th lots of times...
Please do. I would really appreciate it!
One last thought...we’ll be able to tell early on how big this story is, or will be, by the questions and comments that the Dems ask. People are disgusted with this, and the Dems won’t I think, try to protect the administration..