The Two-Way
5:04 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

$20K For Drumsticks? GSA Back In Limelight For Conference Spending

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 6:56 pm

The General Services Administration, which is tasked with developing the rules followed by other government agencies, is back in the limelight for the money it spent on a one-day event in the Washington, D.C. area.

In a letter to House members, the agency's inspector general says it has launched an investigation after its initial findings showed the GSA spent $268,732 on the event.

ABC News reports the conference was for the Federal Acquisition Service division and was held in November of 2010.

"This is another sad day for the taxpayers in the United States," Republican Rep. John Mica told ABC. "This sounds almost unbelievable to have this kind of waste reported when we're running trillions in dollars in deficit makes absolutely everyone's blood boil."

In the letter obtained by ABC, Brian D. Miller says the agency paid $20,578.24 for drumsticks given to 4,000 attendees. $28,364 was used to purchase 4,000 "time temperature picture frames" for the attendees.

Assuming there were 4,000 attendees at the event, the total cost per attendee comes out to $67 a person.

As we allude to in the headline, GSA spending has raised eyebrows before. The spending that first got the GSA in trouble amounted to $686,247 for a four-day conference for 300 people. That amounts to $2,287 per person.

The IG called that spending "excessive and wasteful."

The scandal cost the GSA administrator Martha Johnson her job.

Update at 6:47 p.m. ET. This Type Of Spending 'Not Tolerated':

The GSA just sent us a statement, saying that it's important to note that this awards ceremony was brought to the attention of the Inspector General by Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini.

Betsaida Alcantara, the GSA's communications director, said that Tangherlini has already suspended these kinds of events as of April of 2012. His statement continued:

"These events indicate an already recognized pattern of misjudgment which spans several years and administrations. It must stop, and is why Acting Administrator Tangherlini has instituted several stringent new policies on spending to put an end to this misuse of taxpayer dollars.

"This week, Tangherlini cut executive bonuses and instituted a hiring freeze across the agency. Additionally, Tangherlini has consolidated oversight of conference and travel expenses in the new Office of Administrative Services. He cancelled 36 conferences, saving millions in taxpayer dollars, and directed the new office to review each and every planned future conference to make sure that they and any related travel is justified."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.