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Secret Service, GSA scandals dominate Sunday talk shows

April 22, 2012|By Katherine Skiba
  • Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini testifies on Capitol Hill.
Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini testifies on Capitol Hill. (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

WASHINGTON — Topic A on Sunday’s talk shows was federal employees behaving badly, with most outcry over the Secret Service agents ensnared in a prostitution scandal in Colombia. But criticism also mounted for the General Services Administration, caught in its own brouhaha over extravagant spending at a Las Vegas conference and other venues.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who chairs the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the GSA’s lavish spending in Las Vegas was “really outrageous” and “sickening” because it didn’t represent most people who work for the federal government.

Lieberman said the committee will ask GSA’s inspector general to conduct an oversight investigation in all of its regions, similar to the one done in San Francisco-based Region 9, which organized the Las Vegas conference that ran up a $823,000 bill in October 2010. The agency has 11 regions.

“I want to know if there’s abuse in the other regions, particularly when it comes to conferences,” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The senior Republican on the committee, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, said on ABC’s “This Week” that Republicans had been trying to put limits on “excessive” conferences and travel for some time and had been blocked.

She said the president bore no role in the Secret Service scandal, but drew a distinction in the case of the GSA because there had been an alert in May 2011 from the agency’s inspector general about the extravagant spending prior to his final report, released early this month. “The president is responsible in that case,” Collins said.

Already, GSA’s top official has resigned, two top aides have been fired and several employees have been placed on administrative leave.

Addressing the GSA spending binge, President Obama's senior campaign official, David Axelrod, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Obama found the matter “very enraging.”

“I think it’s fair to say [he was] apoplectic,” Axelrod said, “because we made a big effort to cut waste, inefficiency, fraud against the government.”

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