April 30, 2012 |
In Washington, another scandal has broken over excessive spending during a business conference. But travel experts predict the effect this time around will be limited. Four years ago, it was insurance giant American International Group Inc.that was slammed for holding a lavish executive retreat at a Dana Point resort after taking billions of dollars in government bailout money. In the face of harsh criticism of excessive spending amid a recession, corporations dramatically cut back on business travel, dealing a blow to hotels and airlines across the country.
April 25, 2012 |
Congress is taking steps toward reform in the wake of the General Services Administration's spending scandal, with the House planning to vote Wednesday on a bill that would set new standards for transparency. The vote follows Tuesday's Senate approval of a spending limitations amendment aimed at government-funded conferences. The House bill, titled the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act , was originally introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) in June 2011. At its heart, the bill would mandate that recipients of contracts, loans and grants on a federal level report their spending uniformly, and all federal agencies would be required to disclose their expenditures and financial obligations in a uniform manner on a single public website.
April 23, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - It was a simple scam: Coleen Newton-White, a government contractor, and her husband would take General Services Administration credit cards from the motor pool at Ft. Monroe, Va., and use them to sell fuel at a discount to cash customers who pulled up to service stations five at a time. Between 2008 and 2010, the scheme netted the couple almost $300,000, according to court records. Although the gas scheme is a world away from the nearly $823,000 spent on a lavish Las Vegas-area conference put on by GSA official Jeff Neely - including a mind reader, sushi and in-room parties - it is an example of the fraud that the procurement and property management agency faces regularly.
April 22, 2012 |
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.
April 19, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - As the investigation into lavish spending by the General Services Administration widens beyond the $823,000 conference held in Las Vegas in 2010, new claims have been levied at GSA administrator Jeff Neely regarding official travel that included his wife. Neely, silent since invoking the 5th Amendment at the onset of a series of congressional hearings on the GSA, has been the focus of heavy criticism over his role not only in the planning of the Las Vegas conference, but also his personal conduct at the agency.
April 18, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate took its turn holding a hearing on the excessive spending of the embattled General Services Administration on Wednesday, with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announcing “the party's over.” Boxer, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, began the oversight hearing on the GSA by detailing its history of misconduct stretching back to the administration of President Carter in the late 1970s. Boxer called Daniel Tangherlini, the new acting administrator of the GSA, “a no-nonsense leader” and expressed confidence that he would be able to clean up the mess left behind by former administrator Martha Johnson, who resigned soon after the scandal came to light.