Home > posts > Head of Federal Government’s Cost-Cutting Agency Resigns Amidst Revelations of Taxpayer-Funded Excesses
April 4th, 2012 12:13 pm
Head of Federal Government’s Cost-Cutting Agency Resigns Amidst Revelations of Taxpayer-Funded Excesses
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Every week or so it seems there’s another story out of Washington about the federal government spending an eye-popping amount of money on something that’s either dramatically overpriced or outright unnecessary: $115,000 a year for someone to update the Interior Department’s Facebook page, for instance, or the Maryland town where more than $800,000 of stimulus money was spent in order to publicize how well stimulus money was being spent.

Perhaps, in a fit of rage at one of these stories, you’ve wondered why there isn’t a government watchdog tasked with reining in these expenditures. Though it’s little know outside of Washington, there actually is such an organization, the colorlessly named General Services Administration (GSA), which describes its mission as “to use expertise to provide innovative solutions for our customers in support of their missions, and by so doing, foster an effective, sustainable, and transparent government for the American people.” And now the head of the organization, Martha Johnson, is stepping down after the GSA went on a taxpayer-funded spending binge.

From the Federal Times:

GSA’s Public Buildings Service spent $822,000 on the biennial Western Regions Conference in Las Vegas for only 300 employees, according to an inspector general’s report.

The expenses included $147,000 for airfare and hotel lodging for six planning trips by conference organizers. That figure included $100,000 on two “scouting trips” and five off-site meetings and an additional $30,000 on catering costs for those trips, according to the report.

Among the other expenses were $3,200 for a mind reader; $6,300 on a commemorative coin set displayed in velvet boxes; and $75,000 on a training exercise to build a bicycle, according to the IG report, which was obtained by Federal Times.

GSA also promised the hotel an additional $41,480 in catering charges in exchange for the “concession” of the hotel honoring the government’s lodging limit.

The agency also spent $44 a person per breakfast and $95 per person for its closing reception dinner.

The agency also spent money on mementos for attendees, clothing for GSA employees and tuxedo rentals, according to the report.

The GSA: Looking out for the taxpayers since 1949. But who will watch the watchmen?

h/t — Mollie Hemingway at Ricochet.

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