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Obama’s Out-Of-Control Government

- June 5, 2013

A NEW REVELATION ABOUT THE GSA IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF GOVERNMENT WASTE

"Senior GSA Officials Pressured Subordinates To Accept Federal Technology Contracts With Higher-Than-Necessary Prices And Unfavorable Terms." "Senior officials from the General Services Administration pressured subordinates to accept federal technology contracts with higher-than-necessary prices and unfavorable terms, according to a watchdog report released Tuesday." (Josh Hicks, "Watchdog Says GSA Officials Improperly Intervened On Top Tech Contracts," The Washington Post, 6/4/13)

  • "GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller Found That Directors For The Agency's Technology -Acquisition Division Improperly Intervened When Contracting Staff Members Determined That Certain Proposals Were Not In Taxpayers' Best Interests." (Josh Hicks, "Watchdog Says GSA Officials Improperly Intervened On Top Tech Contracts," The Washington Post, 6/4/13)

GSA IG Brian Miller Said The Findings "Raise Serious Issues." "Miller said the findings raise 'serious issues affecting the integrity of our acquisition system,' adding that 'contracting officers need an environment in which they are free to make judgments, conclusions and findings without undue interference.'"(Josh Hicks, "Watchdog Says GSA Officials Improperly Intervened On Top Tech Contracts," The Washington Post, 6/4/13)

  • "The Report Cited The Agency's Three Largest Contracts For 2011, Worth $900 Million, For Oracle, Carahsoft And Deloitte." (Josh Hicks, "Watchdog Says GSA Officials Improperly Intervened On Top Tech Contracts," The Washington Post, 6/4/13)

"It Said Company Officials Directly Contacted Agency Management When Concerns Were Raised About Their Offers, Undermining The Authority Of The Lower-Level Contracting Personnel." (Josh Hicks, "Watchdog Says GSA Officials Improperly Intervened On Top Tech Contracts," The Washington Post, 6/4/13)

  • "Contracting Staff Members Said GSA Supervisors And Company Officials Failed To Provide Requested Information To Justify The Financial Agreements." (Josh Hicks, "Watchdog Says GSA Officials Improperly Intervened On Top Tech Contracts," The Washington Post, 6/4/13)
  • "Staff Members Told Investigators That They Feared For Their Jobs Because They Were Trying To Do The Right Thing And Protect The Taxpayers' Interests, According To The Report." (Josh Hicks, "Watchdog Says GSA Officials Improperly Intervened On Top Tech Contracts," The Washington Post, 6/4/13) 
  • "'This Is One Of Those Situations That Can Be Career-Altering,' One Employee Told Auditors." (Josh Hicks, "Watchdog Says GSA Officials Improperly Intervened On Top Tech Contracts," The Washington Post, 6/4/13)

Who Could Forget About The Lavish Spending The GSA Admitted To Last Year?

The General Services Administration's 2010 Western Region Conference "Made Headlines When An Inspector General Report Found A Pattern Of Excessive Spending, Waste, And Possible Fraud On The Pricey, Taxpayer-Funded Las Vegas Conference." "The conference made headlines this week when an Inspector General report found a pattern of excessive spending, waste and possible fraud on the pricey, taxpayer-funded Las Vegas conference, where organizers went out of their way to organize a lavish, over-the-top celebration that included a mindreader, a clown, fancy food, and several 'trial runs' by GSA employees." (Byron Tau, "Videos Of $800K GSA Conference Surface,"Politico, 4/7/12)

At A House Oversight And Government Committee Hearing, The GSA Official Who Planned The Conference, Jeff Neely, Pled The Fifth To Avoid Incriminating Himself. "A top General Services Administration official who was in charge of organizing a lavish Las Vegas conference that's drawn congressional and taxpayer fire repeatedly invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination Monday on Capitol Hill. During Monday's hearing, Jeff Neely, refused to answer several questions from House Oversight and Government Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), including rudimentary questions such as his official title at GSA and whether he was currently employed at the agency." (Seung Min Kim, "GSA Official Pleads Fifth In Conference Scandal," Politico, 4/16/12)

On Top Of The Conference, Neely "Spent Thousands Of Taxpayer Dollars On A Variety Of Wasteful Trips And Events." "The General Services Administration executive who organized an $822,000 conference in Las Vegas in 2010 also spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on a variety of wasteful trips and events, according to lawmakers and GSA's top investigator." (Andy Medici, "Inspector General: GSA Official's Waste Part Of Pattern," USA Today, 4/17/12)

  • Neely's Wife Accompanied Him On Lavish Trips As Taxpayers "Picked Up The Tab." "The senior government executive who organized the lavish Las Vegas conference at the center of a General Services Administration spending scandal took dozens of trips for the agency. The boss's wife accompanied him on some of them - and taxpayers picked up the tab. Deborah Neely wasn't always just sharing husband Jeffrey E. Neely's hotel rooms at resorts from Las Vegas to the Pacific islands. She handled party arrangements, directed event planners to spend government money and arranged lodging for relatives on the GSA trip to Las Vegas in 2010, an unusual role revealed in transcripts of interviews that the agency's inspector general's office conducted with Jeffrey Neely, as well as in congressional hearings." (Lisa Rein, "GSA Official's Wife Accompanied Him On Trips At Taxpayer Expense," The Washington Post , 4/17/12)

AND THE GSA ISN'T THE FIRST EXAMPLE OF AN OUT-OF-CONTROL GOVERNMENT THAT HAS SURFACED OVER THE LAST WEEK

The IRS Dropped $50 Million Of Taxpayers' Dollars On Conferences

According To An Inspector General's Report, The IRS Spent $50 Million On 220 Conferences Between 2010 And 2012. "The Internal Revenue Service, already under fire after officials disclosed that the agency targeted conservative groups, faces increased scrutiny because of an inspector general's report that it spent about $50 million to hold at least 220 conferences for employees between 2010 and 2012." (Alan Fram, "IRS Woes Grow With Report Of Conference Spending," The Associated Press, 6/3/13)

  • Conference Spending Included $4 Million For An August 2010 Trip To Anaheim, California, For Which They Did Not Even Attempt To Negotiate Lower Room Rates. "The conference spending included $4 million for an August 2010 gathering in Anaheim, Calif., for which the agency did not negotiate lower room rates, even though that is standard government practice, according to a statement by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee." (Alan Fram, "IRS Woes Grow With Report Of Conference Spending," The Associated Press, 6/3/13) 
  • "Instead, Some Of The 2,600 Attendees Received Benefits, Including Baseball Tickets And Stays In Presidential Suites That Normally Cost $1,500 To $3,500 Per Night." (Alan Fram, "IRS Woes Grow With Report Of Conference Spending," The Associated Press, 6/3/13)
  • "In Addition, 15 Outside Speakers Were Paid A Total Of $135,000 In Fees, With One Paid $17,000 To Talk About 'Leadership Through Art,' The House Committee Said." (Alan Fram, "IRS Woes Grow With Report Of Conference Spending," The Associated Press, 6/3/13)
  • The IRS Spent $11,430 For A "Happiness Expert" And $27,500 For An "Innovation Expert." "Source says IRS spent $11,430 to have 'happiness expert' lead 4 workshops, $27,500 for 'innovation expert' at 2010 conference" ( Kelly O'Donnell Twitter Feed, 6/3/13)
  • One Conference Speaker Was Paid $17,000 To Discuss "Leadership Through Art." "In addition, 15 outside speakers were paid a total of $135,000 in fees, with one paid $17,000 to talk about 'leadership through art,' the House committee said." (Alan Fram, "Report: IRS Spent $50M Holding 220 Employee Conferences Over Three Years," The Associated Press , 6/3/13)
  • "Numerous Gifts/Promotional Items Were Provided To Attendees At An Estimated Cost Of More Than $64,000." (Kelly O'Donnell, "New Report Reveals Charges Of 'Excessive' IRS Spending On Conference," NBC News, 6/4/13)

An IRS "Dancing" Video Was Filmed During The 2010 Anaheim, California Conference. "In the latest black eye for the Internal Revenue Service, the agency provided Congress on Friday with another video featuring its employees, this one showing about a dozen of them line dancing on a stage. The video of the IRS workers practicing their dance moves, which lasts just under three minutes, comes weeks after it was revealed that agency workers produced two other videos parodying the 'Star Trek' and 'Gilligan's Island' TV shows. The latest recording cost about $1,600 and was produced to be shown at the end of a 2010 training and leadership conference held in Anaheim, Calif., said IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge." ("Newly Released IRS Video Shows Employees Line Dancing, Agency Calls It Unacceptable," The Associated Press, 5/31/13)

  • "In The Video, Various Workers Comment As Colleagues Practice Their Dancing In The Background To Music That Sounds Like 'Cupid Shuffle,' A 2007 Hit By The Performer Cupid." "In the video, various workers comment as colleagues practice their dancing in the background to music that sounds like 'Cupid Shuffle,' a 2007 hit by the performer Cupid. In the version obtained by The Associated Press, IRS employees' names have been erased."("Newly Released IRS Video Shows Employees Line Dancing, Agency Calls It Unacceptable," The Associated Press, 5/31/13)
  • At The Same Conference, The IRS Spent $60,000 To Produce "Star Trek" And "Gilligan's Island" Themed Training Videos. "That Star Trek video was produced for the same 2010 conference. The agency called the Star Trek video, which lasted six minutes and featured employees dressed as characters from the popular show, a mistake. The Star Trek and Gilligan's Island videos cost about $60,000 combined to make, the IRS said in March."("Newly Released IRS Video Shows Employees Line Dancing, Agency Calls It Unacceptable," The Associated Press, 5/31/13)

The EPA Used One Of Its Warehouses As A Gym, Allowing The Facility To Degrade To "Potentially Hazardous" And "Deplorable" Conditions

EPA Employees Used A Warehouse Facility As A Makeshift Gym, While The Facility Degraded To "Potentially Hazardous" And "Deplorable" Conditions. "Employees at an Environmental Protection Agency warehouse in Landover, Md., worked out in a makeshift gym while conditions inside the facility 'were rotting and becoming potentially hazardous,' according to an EPA inspector general report issued on Monday. 'Deplorable conditions existed in the warehouse,' the report by Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. states. 'Door jambs were corroded; dirt, dust and vermin feces were pervasive; and several items were rotting and potentially hazardous.'" (Amy Harder, "'Deplorable' Conditions Cited At EPA Warehouse In Maryland," National Journal, 6/3/13)

  • In Addition To The Makeshift Gym, EPA Employees Created Hideaways With Televisions And Couches And Left Sensitive Information Exposed. "The report found that the 70,000-square-foot warehouse-one of EPA's largest-was storing large amounts of expensive, unused equipment, ranging from computers to pianos. It also found numerous security and safety issues. … Employees had created hideaways arranged to be out of the sight of security cameras, the report said. 'The warehouse contained multiple unauthorized and hidden personal spaces created by and for the workers that included televisions, refrigerators, radios, microwaves, chairs and couches,' the IG report said. 'These spaces contained personal items, including photos, pin ups, calendars, clothing, books, magazines and videos.' They also created a makeshift gym spanning an area larger than 30 feet by 45 feet." (Amy Harder, "'Deplorable' Conditions Cited At EPA Warehouse In Maryland," National Journal, 6/3/13)

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