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Shows & Panels
Senators digging into GSA conferences in all regions
Friday - 5/18/2012, 3:30pm EDT
Two high-ranking senators have renewed the investigation into conference spending at the General Services Administration.
Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) sent a letter to all 11 regional commissioners requesting budget, travel and conference spending information.
"The waste, excessive spending and possible fraud uncovered as a result of th[e] investigation and continuing investigations cause us grave concern," the senators said in a joint statement. "In light of the array of problems uncovered by the [the] investigation, we seek to understand whether there is a wider problem at GSA."
In the detailed letter, the senators requested not only conference spending information, but the purpose of the conference, the title of the organizer and the title of the organizer's supervisor. The regional administrators have until June 1 to provide the information.
Lieberman and Collins sent a similar letter to GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini on Monday.
Each regional administrator received the same letter, which reads:
"We are writing to follow up on a number of concerns that have been raised by the Inspector General's Management Deficiency Report on the 2010 Western Regions Conference (April 2, 2012). As you know, the IG uncovered numerous violations of contracting regulations and policies and the Federal Travel Regulation, as well as purchase card irregularities, by General Services Administration employees. The waste, excessive spending and possible fraud uncovered as a result of this investigation and continuing investigations cause us grave concern. These issues are even more troubling given GSA's unique and lead role in contracting and management of travel and conference planning.
In light of the array of problems uncovered by the WRC investigation, we seek to understand whether there is a wider problem at GSA. We are encouraged by Acting Administrator Tangherlini's leadership and aggressive actions to right the ship at the national level. We also appreciate that there are many GSA employees across the country at all levels of the GSA organization who take their responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayer money very seriously. Indeed, we understand from the IG that numerous GSA employees have stepped forward in the aftermath of the WRC investigation to report abuses to the IG hotline and we applaud and encourage these actions.
To help inform our assessment, please provide the information requested below about activities in your region by June 1, 2012.
1. What was the overall budget for your regional office for each of fiscal years 2008 - 2012?