Capitol Hill was the scene again today as Congress continues its probe into the activities of the General Services Administration. On Monday, GSA manager Jeffrey Neely took the Fifth Amendment to all questions posed to him. Former GSA head, Martha Johnson stumbled when asked why Jeff Neely received a $9000 bonus even after she had the report from the GSA Inspector General, Brian Miller, about the lavish party thrown in Las Vegas. Today, GSA officials faced more questions about that party, as well as junkets and trips to Hawaii, Napa Valley and several South Pacific islands. Not only were GSA employees having fun on the taxpayer′s dime, but also their family and friends. Neely, for example, took five trips, including a 17-day excursion to Hawaii, Guam and Saipan with his wife as part of her birthday present. Many are questioning just what the White House knew about this extravagant living?
GSA managers essentially abused the rules and thought they were mighty funny about charging up lavish parties and seminars to the taxpayers. The primary function of the agency is to save the taxpayer money by establishing sources for goods and services at the lowest price. Apparently, the GSA attitude amongst its leaders was that such savings meant more cash available to them for spending on fun. Clowns, mind readers, massages, wine vineyard tours, scuba diving lessons, whatever item they could dream up. Some hotels and resorts may have cooperated in their billing practices, enabling GSA employees to pocket their lunch money.
The whole GSA is in need of a thorough house-cleaning now. Brian Miller, the Inspector General for the General Services Administration, has told Congress that his investigation is learning more the deeper he probes. The famous Las Vegas party, where Jeffrey Neely treated his staff to much merriment on the taxpayer′s dime is just the tip of the iceberg. That Martha Johnson still gave Jeff Neely a $9000 bonus after learning of the misuse of funds is outrageous. Neely can take the Fifth Amendment all he wants, but eventually, the White House will have no option but to cave in to Congress and turn the case over to the Justice Department and examine how many laws may have been broken.