Federal Agency Cancels New Vegas Conference Amid Scandal Over Its Lavish 2010 Event
The federal agency under fire for spending lavishly on a 2010 conference held near Las Vegas has made a shrewd decision about where to hold its next conference: not Vegas.
The General Services Administration had been preparing to return to the Las Vegas area, but it has since changed those plans in the wake of the scandal over more than $800,000 spent on the 2010 event. The Washington Post reports that the upcoming conference, scheduled for April 25, at a Vegas hotel, has been cancelled.
Several agency employees, including its chief, already have lost their jobs over an inspector general’s report on the 2010 conference.
Music videos featured at that conference have more or less gone viral by this point, showing agency employees laughing it up while making light of the agency’s spending and internal investigations.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been releasing the videos as it launches an investigation into GSA spending following the inspector general’s report. The committee announced late Monday that it has scheduled a hearing for April 16, where Martha Johnson — until recently the head of GSA — has been invited to testify, along with the inspector general.
An agency spokesman told the Post that the acting administrator has promised greater scrutiny of any conferences “that involve travel or substantial expenditures of public funds.”
The conference that had been scheduled for later this month was focused on environmentally friendly products and services and was intended to bring together GSA employees and contractors.
The Obama administration has not attempted to defend the 2010 conference. Top Obama officials have condemned the expenses and pledged to implement protections to clamp down on wasteful spending.