What is the GSA Scandal All About?

We knew the Government was wasteful with tax dollars, right?  Sure we did, but we try not to get bothered by it every day.

But it’s hard not to get bothered when you hear about the GSA scandal.  Not sure what the GSA is?  Don’t worry, you’re in the majority.  Let’s take a look at what the GSA does and then look at how it wasted nearly a million dollars of our taxpayer money in a wasteful ‘business’ trip to Las Vegas.

What is the GSA (General Service Administration)?

gsa scandal

The General Service Administration is an independent agency in the U.S. Government that was created in 1949 to help manage and support the business needs of all government departments.  One of the key roles in the GSA is to provide opportunities to businesses to sell products and services to federal agencies – they manage the deals that pump billions of dollars back into businesses.

The GSA has their hat in almost everything – it’s like the government’s real estate agent/business negotiator, and travel agent all in one.  Here’s a brief description from the GSA website:

GSA oversees the business of the U.S. federal government. GSA’s acquisition solutions supplies federal purchasers with cost-effective high-quality products and services from commercial vendors. GSA provides workplaces for federal employees, and oversees the preservation of historic federal properties. Its policies covering travel, property and management practices promote efficient government operations.

What is the GSA Scandal and Where is our $820,000?

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past century, the government isn’t the most frugal organization in the world.  The GSA scandal is centered on the organization’s October 2010 trip to Las Vegas where the bill totaled a whopping $820,000 for an extravagant conference for its employees.

Here’s what the party included:

  • $100,405.37 just for the ‘pre-meeting-meeting.’  That’s right, they had to send a team out to do a ‘dry run’ of the conference just to make sure it would run smoothly.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. shared his opinion of the ‘pre-meeting-meeting’ with his statement, “The tribes of Israel sent 12 scouts into the Promised Land before they decided to invade, and GSA has to send 15 to Las Vegas to check out a hotel? Do you not see the outrage?”

  • $5,600 for 3 private in-room parties
  • $79, 511 ‘light’ refreshments and beverages
  • $31,208 for a ‘networking’ reception.  That makes sense…let’s network with everyone that we work with everyday at a reception 2,000 miles from the office.
  • $44 per person for breakfast everyday.  Can someone please remind them that the Hampton Inn serves free breakfast…
  • $30,208 ($95 per person) for reception and dinner each night.  I don’t think Shoney’s got their business that trip.
  • $75,000 Team building exercise – assembled bikes to donate to the Boy’s and Girl’s club.
  • $6,325 for commemorative coins to give to every participant…maybe to remind them about the trip to Vegas?

You can read the full GSA spending report here.

It’s not new to hear about wasteful spending in Washington, but seriously! Everyone knows that meetings are usually a waste of time and for the GSA to waste taxpayer dollars on a trip like this is infuriating.

Thoughts?

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