Last night I spend about two hours watching a House committee hearing on CSPAN on the topic of the GSA’s waste and extravagant spending. It was fascinating! I couldn't quit watching. I know it takes a lot to get Democrats outraged over government waste; even Democrats were outraged.
What was revealed in the hearings was unbelievable! About 300 GSA employees went to a conference in Las Vegas at a cost of over $800,000! They enjoyed lavish food and still got to pocket their meal per diem. There were some 2200 square foot suites with hot tubs for some of the participants. Some employees brought their wives.
They got around rules against providing free food for employees at conferences because food can be served if it is part of an awards ceremony, so they had lots of awards ceremonies. The use of ceremonies to get around the prohibition against the food orgies turned into a joke. Employees gave their bosses awards. They gave awards for things unrelated to their job. Conference participants were given blackjack dealer vest with the conference logo on them and commemorative coins and goody bags.
The Las Vegas conference was only one of several similar conferences. The western region of GSA sent some employees to Guam for a 17 day conference and GSA often has off-site meetings, including one meeting in the Napa Valley wine region. There was a culture of waste, and extravagance and employees who questioned the appropriateness of the spending would be “squashed like a bug” according to one employees testimony to the Inspector General.
This cultural of entitlement and waste and corruption extends beyond lavish conferences. It was reported that Apple Ipads were taken from a storehouse by GSA employees and dozens, or maybe hundreds, were missing. People took them for their children. There was such lose controls that no one knows who took them.
If you missed this news about the GSA scandal, bring yourself up to date. This is unbelievable. These people are partying and living an extravagant decadent lifestyle on taxpayers’ money. If that is the culture of the Western Region of the GSA, how widespread is that culture in government?
Every American should be outraged. This should not be acceptable. Not only do some people need to lose their job over this, some people need to go to jail. We should demand a change in the culture. We need a cultural where people are so afraid of being accused of waste that they bring their own ink pens to work.
Federal Government employees should be government servants, not the ruling elite. The public should demand, a reduction in the size of government, a cut in all bonus and a freeze in salaries. Government employees are overpaid, have more days off than people in the private sector and great job security. It should not be that way. Government service should not be a preferred place to work. Government workers should not have a better deal than people in the private sector.
The only area in which I would support an increase in government staff is in a larger staff for IG. The government needs to hire the meanest accountants they can find and every expenditure needs to be examined. People should be seeking to leave government service because it is no longer a fun place to work.