Congressional lawmakers have launched an investigation into potential taxpayer abuse carried out by the General Services Administration (GSA), a federal agency already charged with spending millions of dollars on lavish conferences and for other alleged financial misconduct. The embattled government department is being probed for 77 conferences and award ceremonies over the years as new information came to light over an exorbitant one-day event in Crystal City, Virginia that cost more than $250,000.
Speaking at a congressional hearing, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) said the GSA’s Office of Inspector General and the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure are looking into potential taxpayer waste actualized by the agency, which manages federal contracting and oversees government real estate.
New documents obtained by Fox News reveal that the GSA poured millions of dollars into obscure and costly conferences, at many of which officials neglected to adequately record financial expenses. The 2010 event in Crystal City, Virginia involved a “team-building” exercise that resulted in a slew of employee bonuses totaling millions of dollars. “According to the records, more than 3,700 employees received bonuses averaging about $1,000 apiece at the conference,” Fox News reported. “The cost to taxpayers was $3.6 million — minus the cost of the drumsticks, and the consultant who headed up the exercise.”
In a letter to Congress, GSA Inspector General Brian Miller said his preliminary investigation into the one-day ceremony shows it cost taxpayers at least $268,732. Among his findings:
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Photo of Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) at hearing over GSA waste: AP Images