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Hawaii GSA worker’s video cited in probe of federal spending

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Sen. Daniel K. Inouye said today a music video by a Honolulu-based federal employee that includes tongue-in-cheek references to lavish government spending "was not in good taste," but does not represent his experiences with the General Services Administration.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform included on its website the video by Hawaii GSA employee Hank Terlaje. The committee labels the video, "Winning Video Skit from Taxpayer Funded Luxury Las Vegas GSA Convention."

Lawmakers are looking into the agency following an inspector general’s report criticizing a lavish conference in October 2010 in Las Vegas that cost more than $820,000.

The White House accepted GSA chief Martha Johnson’s resignation after she dismissed two deputies and suspended other career employees over the conference.

Terlaje won a GSA talent award at the conference on Oct. 28, 2010 for his video, in which he sings about what he would do if he were head of the agency. The video is entitled "Federal Worker ‘American Idle’" and is set to the tune of "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars.

The video depicts Terlaje sitting in an office cubicle, playing a ukulele and daydreaming about all the spending he would do if he were GSA commissioner and how he would never be subject to inspector general investigation. The daydream ends when a coworker drops a stack of paperwork on his desk.

The emcee at the Las Vegas awards ceremony, identified by the committee as Deputy Commissioner of the Public Building Service David Foley, presents the singer with a hat and jokes that he should pay for the party that was held in the commissioner’s suite.

In a statement today, Inouye said, "I saw the video produced by the Hawaii General Services Administration office, and I must say it was not in good taste. I’m not sure what purpose it served.

"It was surprising to say the least but not indicative of the experience I have had with the agency throughout my career. I have always known the GSA to deliver on their promises in a timely and efficient manner. I have never known them to be wasteful.

"The agency’s administrator has resigned and the region nine administrator has been terminated. The Inspector General’s office is continuing its investigation into this indefensible behavior which has placed a cloud over GSA’s mission and the important work they do for the federal employees in Hawaii and our nation."

Sen. Daniel Akaka released a statement saying, "The results of the Inspector General’s investigation are very concerning, but I commend the Administration’s swift reaction to the report released on Monday. I will continue to monitor the Government Services Administration’s response to the Inspector General report."

A House Transportation Committee panel has scheduled a hearing April 19 to examine spending habits at the agency that is in charge of the federal government’s real estate.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said it wanted more information from GSA Inspector General Brian Miller. The committee asked whether Miller is aware of any disciplinary action taken against GSA employees involved in the planning or execution of the conference before the inspector general’s report was issued this week.

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