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GSA Scandal Meant No Vacation for Mica

Bloomberg Government

April 16, 2012

With an aviation funding bill passed and highway legislation once again kicked down the road, the House transportation committee this week turns its attention to another part of its portfolio -- the General Services Administration.

Congress’s two-week hiatus has been filled with headlines suggesting a culture of wild spending at GSA, leading to almost daily releases from committee Chairman John Mica, such as April 12’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous: GSA Conference for Interns.” That’s one of nine news releases on GSA, which manages federal buildings, that the Florida Republican has issued since April 3.

Today the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee takes its shot at the GSA. Mica will hold a hearing tomorrow to examine an inspector general’s report about spending excesses at a conference in Las Vegas and subsidized travel to Hawaii. Then on Wednesday, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing will cover the same ground. Since GSA Administrator Martha Johnson quit April 2 following revelations about the Vegas junket, it looks to be a tough week on Capitol Hill for the agency’s remaining bureaucrats.

“It is outrageous that this agency, which costs the taxpayers billions because it’s sitting on its assets, would spend nearly a million dollars on a Vegas junket,” Mica said in a statement. “This is just the tip of the iceberg.”

The “sitting on our assets” line has been a familiar refrain for Mica even before the latest scandal. In reports under that heading, Mica has alleged the agency wastes money by leasing privately owned space while allowing government properties to sit empty.

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