GSA Conference Investigation Widens

on August 01, 2012 at 4:30 PM

At least 77 General Service Administration employee conferences that totaled more than $6.7 million in costs are under review by the agency’s inspector general, according to published reports.

The news came at a hearing before a House panel on Wednesday.

The conferences, according to the Washington Post, cost at least $10,000 each and were attended by 25 employees or more. They were held between October 2010, when the agency held an $823,000 employee conference in Las Vegas, and April 2012, when that conference became public.

The conferences were the focus of a hearing before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Post reported.

Among the events reviewed was a one-day $270,000 awards ceremony in Arlington County for employees of the Federal Acquisition Service. The one-day conference was held four weeks after the Las Vegas event with a more than $140,000 tab for coordination and logistical costs, $34,000 for the venue, $28,000 on picture frames and $20,579 for drum sticks, Brian Miller, GSA’s inspector general, testified.

“C’mon $140,000 for one day,” said Rep. John Mica (R-Fla., pictured above), who chairs the panel. “There are a lot of us in the wrong business out there.”

The scandal over the Las Vegas conference led to Administrator Martha Johnson’s resignation and to firings of two top deputies. Since then, acting GSA administrator Daniel Tangherlini canceled 37 conferences and initiated a line-item review of agency conference spending.