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Response to GSA scandal has been tepid, inadequate

May 1, 2012
The Mining Journal

Nearly a year ago, General Services Administration Inspector General Brian Miller warned agency executives he had uncovered troubling information about misuse of taxpayers' money. Expensive trips not necessary for GSA business should be stopped, Miller warned.

During the ensuing several months, a top GSA official spent 44 days traveling to Hawaii, the Napa Valley in California and South Pacific islands. The official, Jeffrey Neely, planned the 17-day trip to the South Pacific as a birthday celebration. His wife accompanied him, at government expense.

Neely's activities were part of a pattern of wrongdoing, Miller testified to Congress last week.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate began investigating the GSA after Miller's office issued a scathing report on a "conference" near Las Vegas. It cost taxpayers more than $800,000, much of that for unnecessary luxuries. Some GSA employees actually posted videos on the Internet, bragging about getting away with waste.

In discussing his investigation during a House hearing, Miller said this: "Every time we turned over a stone, we found 50 more with all kinds of things crawling out."

The GSA's director has resigned and two top aides have been fired. Ten other government employees have been placed on leave.

No other action has been taken by the agency.

Everyone involved in wrongdoing at the GSA should be fired - and prosecuted, if possible. Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress should demand it.



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