Issa: Possibly ‘Billions’ In GSA Waste

Tim Mak

Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who will hold a hearing Monday on the General Services Administration “culture of wasteful spending,” said the agency may be squandering “perhaps billions of dollars.”

“What we expect to find [in the hearing] is, again, what you have is a pattern, a pattern that may have begun under the Bush administration… it’s likely it’s a pattern of behavior that is costing the American people hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars, and setting a bad example for the rest of the federal workforce,” said Issa on CBS’s “This Morning.”

“Certainly the dollars of growth indicate there was more money being spent on this particular every two-year event [in Las Vegas], but what we see is it got very much out of control. The American people are now aware of it. But it begs a bigger question,” he added.

The GSA organized an extravagant conference in Las Vegas in 2010 that cost over $800,000, even as the federal government engaged in an across-the-board effort to cut down expenses and reduce unnecessary travel and conferences.

The GSA’s inspector general found the conference spending “excessive and wasteful,” leading the agency’s head, Martha Johnson, to resign.

Issa also criticized President Barack Obama for not clamping down on the GSA’s spending.

“This is something where the president came in saying he was going to scrub these activities,” said Issa. “The American people may not have thought President Bush was a fiscal conservative, but this has been a showing that neither is this president, and it’s got to end now.”

The California Republican added that this GSA spending scandal was an important reminder to Congress that austerity was about more than just a buzzword.

“We’ve got to, in Congress, not to just talk about cutting budgets, we’ve got to show how you can really bring austerity, reasonable austerity to the federal workforce,” said Issa. “Las Vegas wasn’t an example of it.”

Issa’s hearing on the General Services Administration will take place 1:30 pm on Monday.

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