The General Services
Administration held a one-day event at a cost topping a quarter of a million
dollars less than a month after spending more than $823,000 at a
The GSA's inspector
general is investigating a $269,000 awards ceremony that featured a guitarist,
violinist and $21,000 in drumsticks given to participants, according to a letter
on Thursday [July 19], from Inspector General Brian Miller to Senator
Claire McCaskill, chairman of a Senate
subcommittee on contracting oversight. The event in November 2010 took place in
Dan Tangherlini, who replaced Johnson as GSA acting administrator in April, brought the incident to the inspector general's attention, according to Miller's letter. Miller wrote that his office has "opened an administrative investigation."
"Under the new GSA leadership, this event and type of spending is not tolerated," Betsaida Alcantara, GSA's communications director, said in an e-mailed statement.
The agency has been holding the awards ceremonies since 2002, Alcantara said.
The GSA's awards ceremony in 2010 had a "whole host of questionable charges," Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican who heads the House transportation committee, which in part oversees GSA, said at a press conference Thursday.
Mica said his committee is also investigating the event at the Crystal Gateway Marriott. In addition to the drumsticks, it included $21,000 in catering charges and $28,000 for 4,000 "time temperature picture frames," according to Miller's letter.
funded at least $27.8 million in GSA conferences since 2005, almost a third of
it spent in the popular vacation spots of
Tangherlini told lawmakers in April that he had canceled 35 GSA conferences in response to the inspector general report, saving taxpayers $995,686. On April 15, he issued a memorandum stating that "all travel for internal GSA meetings, training, conferences, seminars, leadership or management events" would be suspended until the end of the fiscal year, with some exceptions. Businessweek.com