WASHINGTON >> A House Republican whose committee is investigating a lavish conference held by the General Services Administration says a high-ranking official with the embattled agency spent an extra night in Las Vegas after the conference at taxpayer expense.
The big-spending conference has resulted in a shake-up of the leadership of the agency, which is in charge of the federal government’s real estate.
The GSA has been under fire from Congress after its inspector general reported last week that the agency spent $820,000 for a Las Vegas conference in 2010. The head of the agency resigned, two deputies were fired and other employees were suspended.
The latest development was reported by Rep. John Mica, a Florida Republican who chairs the House Transportation Committee. He said details of the additional spending were in a GSA inspector general’s report.
Mica said in a statement Tuesday night that the official billed three nights as government travel and paid the government rate of $93 for fourth night. Mica said the extra cost of the suite, which cost more than $1,000 a night, “was apparently charged to the taxpayer.”
Mica called news about the extra day of vacation costing taxpayers was “icing on the cake.” Rep. Jeff Denham, chairman of a subcommittee on economic development, public buildings and emergency management, said adding “personal vacation stays in Vegas” to the spending by GSA on the Las Vegas conference was “outrageous.”
Mica and Denham will lead a congressional oversight hearing on GSA’s use of tax money next week.
The GSA has said it welcomed the hearings, saying it has taken disciplinary action against those responsible and accepted all the IG’s recommendations. The agency said it looks forward “to working with the committees reviewing this matter.” A message Tuesday night seeking agency comment about Mica’s statement was not immediately returned.