Key Players In Federal Agency's Vegas Scandal Due At Hearing
The regional commissioner who planned a lavish General Services Administration conference that was so "excessive and wasteful" that GSA's top administrator had to resign and several other officials lost their jobs is among those due at a 1:30 p.m. ET hearing being held by the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.
That regional official, Jeff Neely, is expected to invoke his right to remain silent.
The committee says it will be streaming the hearing here. This morning, committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) complained on Fox News that while Neely has been put on administrative leave, he's still being paid.
Among others due at the witness table this afternoon are Martha Johnson, who resigned from her post as GSA's adminstrator (the agency's top job) just before a scathing report about the 2010 conference in Las Vegas was released from GSA's inspector general.
The agency, which manages the federal government's buildings and real estate, incurred "excessive pre-conference planning, catering, and other costs, as well as ... luxury accommodations" that were "incompatible with its obligation to be a responsible steward of the public's money," its inspector general concluded.
We'll keep an eye on the hearing and update this post with news from it later today.
Some examples of the excesses associated with the conference, attended by about 300 people:
— "$146,527.05 on catered food and beverages."
— Travel expenses for planning alone "totaled $100,405.37."
— "During scouting trips, GSA 'VIPs' were shown upgraded suites that they received as a perk for GSA contracting with the M Resort."
— "GSA spent $6,325 on commemorative coins 'rewarding' all conference participants."
— One "networking reception" along cost $31,208, or more than $100 per person.
— GSA spent in all, $686,247 on "travel, catering and vendors" during the four-day conference.
Issa's committee has been posting videos and other evidence of the waste inside GSA, including this "mashup."