McCaskill bill would add new rules for agency conferences

Wednesday - 4/18/2012, 6:00pm EDT

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

A new Senate bill would put restrictions and reporting requirements on agencies for future conferences, and would stop agencies from giving bonuses to employees under investigation.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) introduced the Accountability in Government Act on Wednesday as a response to the spending scandal at the General Services Administration's Public Buildings Service.

"I'm aiming to make sure that agency leaders can't just shrug off responsibility for wrongdoing, and to see that employees who betray the public's trust by wasting taxpayer dollars are punished, not rewarded for bad behavior," McCaskill said in a statement.

The bill would:

  • Require all conferences costing more than $200,000 to be approved by the agency head;

  • Require agencies to send a report to Congress annually detailing all conferences they sponsored;

  • Bar agency leaders from giving bonuses to employees or supervisors under investigation by the inspector general or other auditor, or who have been found to have failed to follow contracting regulations that led to waste, fraud or abuse.

The bill addresses several of the specific problems the GSA inspector general highlighted in his report, including Jeff Neely — the suspended Region 9 commissioner — receiving a $9,000 bonus for his performance despite being under investigation.

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