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Video shows federal employee bragging about lavish spending

April 06, 2012|By Kim Geiger

Reporitng from Washington — A video unearthed by congressional investigators has added fuel to an already raging fire over the General Services Administration’s lavish spending on employee perks and agency conferences.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform published the video, made by an employee of the GSA’s Hawaii office, in which the employee appears to be bragging about agency spending and says that he’d never be investigated for it. The committee dubbed it “Federal Worker ‘American Idle.’ ”

“I buy everything your field office can't afford," the employee raps in the video. "I'll never be under OIG investigation."

OIG refers to the Office of the Inspector General. Ironically, it is an inspector general’s report about an October 2010 GSA conference in Las Vegas, released earlier this week, that turned the spotlight on the agency’s spending and led to the resignation of GSA Administrator Martha Johnson. The report detailed potentially wasteful spending at the Las Vegas conference, including a $100-plus-per-person reception and $6,325 for commemorative coins to commend GSA employees’ work.

The video, made by employee Hank Terlaje, was the winner of an employee talent contest and Terlaje was honored on stage at that conference.

Although Terlaje, in portions of the video, appears to be boasting about excesses at the agency, the overall theme of the video was Terlaje joking about his ambitions to take over the agency. Sung to the tune of Travie McCoy’s “Billionaire,” Terlaje daydreams about having “more space in your cubicle” and “a brand new computer and underground parking.”

But the tone of the video and the fact that it was featured prominently at the conference only adds to the sense that the GSA has been abusing taxpayer dollars.

At the conference, Terlaje was joined onstage by a GSA official, who made him “commissioner for a day,” then joked about how the position would require Terlaje to talk to the hotel “about paying for the party that was held in the commissioner’s suite last night.”

Commissioner Robert Peck was fired on Monday.

kim.geiger@latimes.com

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