A House Infrastructure Subcommittee held a hearing Tuesday that focused on the ongoing investigation into the General Services Administration’s (GSA) improper spending on lavish conferences and employee excursions.
This hearing of the House Transportation Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management was the second of four hearings this week on the GSA's spending.
Congress began investigating GSA spending after the inspector general reported in early April that the agency spent about $823,000 at a Las Vegas resort during a October 2010 conference.
On Monday, Jeffrey Neely, the official at the center of the scandal, invoked his fifth amendment rights and refused to testify because the matter has been referred to the Justice Department for possible criminal violations. Neely, who is on administrative leave from his position as Region 9 Commissioner of the GSA, organized the October 2010 Las Vegas conference. He is scheduled to testify again today.
Former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, who resigned earlier this month, apologized for the situation during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Monday.
"As the head of the agency, I am responsible. I deeply regret that the exceedingly good work of GSA has been besmirched. I will mourn for the rest of my life the loss of my appointment," she said.
Johnson will testify again today, along with Deputy GSA Administrator Susan Brita, who was one of the first officials to raise questions about the spending.
Additional GSA witnesses include: Acting Administrator Daniel Tangherlini; Inspector General Brian Miller; CFO Allison Doone; Former Public Buildings Service Commissioner Robert Peck; Public Buildings Service Deputy Commissioner David Foley; and Public Buildings Service Event Planner Lisa Daniels.
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) and Subcommittee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-CA) will lead the hearing.
Acting GSA Administrator Tangherlini has said that a total of 12 officials have been terminated or placed on leave and that the agency is seeking to get money back from those responsible.