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11:59 am, September 19, 2014

Oversight News

Energy Department missing big opportunity to cut travel costs

An inspector general report found that while the Energy Department "moved swiftly" to reduce travel spending by its employees following a White House directive, it omitted a sizable chunk of its workforce from those efforts: contractors. The IG recommended the agency take steps to reduce contractors' foreign travel spending. Because contractors greatly outnumber federal employees at DoE and make up the lion's share of foreign travel, they should be included in cost-reduction efforts, the IG said.

Wednesday - 10/24/2012, 07:38pm EDT

Report: Safety systems for Afghan IEDs inadequate

The watchdog for spending in Afghanistan is warning commanders that a safety system to protect U.S. troops from roadside bombs is incomplete or inadequate.

Thursday - 10/11/2012, 11:28am EDT

Collins wants to know why VA conference planners received bonuses

In an Oct. 9 letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinskei, Sen. Susan Collins requested the agency disclose whether employees responsible for planning the two conferences held in Orlando, Fla., last summer, also worked on other conferences. In addition, Collins said she wants to know how much conference planners earned in bonuses and other awards for their work.

Wednesday - 10/10/2012, 07:09pm EDT

Republican lawmakers call for ouster of VA official who approved conferences

Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the ranking member of the Senate committee, called on VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to fire his chief of staff, John Gingrich after an inspector general report said he failed to ask the right questions before approving two training conferences. The conferences costs $6.1 million, with as much as $762,000 in questionable spending.

Tuesday - 10/09/2012, 06:35pm EDT
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Failed leadership blamed for VA conference spending scandal

Two Veterans Affairs Department training conferences held last summer in Orlando, Fla., contained as much as $762,000 in wasteful spending and were plagued by poor planning and oversight, according to an inspector general report released Monday.

Monday - 10/01/2012, 05:25pm EDT
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Federal agencies owe $14 million in unpaid taxes

The $14 million owed to the U.S. treasury comes from money withheld from federal employees' paychecks that was never turned over to the IRS, according to a new audit from the Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration. The audit also reviewed whether the IRS made recommended changes following a similar audit five years ago.

Thursday - 09/27/2012, 02:02pm EDT

With $104M whistleblower payout, IRS hoping money talks

Providing awards to whistleblowers is key to bringing would-be informants forward. And a record $104 million after taxes payout to former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld serves as a billboard to whistleblowers that the IRS is willing to pay out for information that helps catch tax cheaters.

Monday - 09/24/2012, 02:30pm EDT
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Agencies cracking down on troubled vendors

The Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee (ISDC) issued its annual report to Congress showing that the use of suspension and debarment increased substantially in 2011 over 2009 and 2010.

Tuesday - 09/18/2012, 07:35pm EDT

Tangherlini sought details of GSA IG's investigation tactics

The acting administrator of GSA said he met with IG Brian Miller and David Shea after accusations the IG investigator's tactics were overly aggressive in looking into the recent SmartPay Conference. Tangherlini also expects to receive suggestions on how the CIO reorganization would work, and how to go forward with the reduction of FAS fees in the coming weeks.

Friday - 09/14/2012, 05:28am EDT
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GSA praised for steps to reform culture, organization

Senate lawmakers and the agency's Inspector General say the strategy to reorganize the General Services Administration and make it more accountable is on the right track. Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini said he will consolidate IT and HR across the agency, and reduce contracting fees charged by the Federal Acquisition Service.

Thursday - 09/13/2012, 06:33am EDT
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Agencies doing job they already paid FPS to do

A new Government Accountability Office report says the Federal Protective Service isn't doing enough to safeguard more than 9,000 federal buildings.

Tuesday - 09/11/2012, 03:46pm EDT

Federal auditors question fuel use by Afghan army

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction says there's no proof the fuel is actually being used by Afghan forces. It could be lost, stolen or diverted to insurgents.

Monday - 09/10/2012, 11:14am EDT

IG says Justice misreported some terrorism stats

Justice reported in 2009 that 512 people were charged with terrorism or terrorism-related crimes for six years after the September 11, 2001, attacks. But the audit showed 544 people were actually charged during that time period.

Thursday - 09/06/2012, 12:17pm EDT

Why does Social Security need 174,000 bullets?

It didn't take long for the Internet to start buzzing with conspiracy theories after the Social Security Administration posted a notice that it was purchasing 174,000 hollow-point bullets.

Tuesday - 09/04/2012, 01:32pm EDT

Conference investigation leaves some questioning GSA IG's aggressive tactics

The General Services Administration's inspector general investigated the agency's recent SmartPay Training Conference and found no wrongdoing or elaborate spending. But the approach taken by the GSA inspector has left some at the agency uneasy. According to a draft memo obtained by Federal News Radio, tactics used by the investigator included a late night awakening and interrogation of the GSA executive in charge of the conference.

Tuesday - 09/04/2012, 02:40am EDT
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GSA expects $11M savings from travel, conference cuts

The General Services Administration projects it will save $11 million from April to September from reforms to employee travel and agency conferences. Since April, GSA canceled 47 conferences.

Wednesday - 08/29/2012, 08:56am EDT

VA seeks outsider to review conference planning policies

The Veterans Affairs Department wants a contractor to review the agency's conference planning and conference acquisition policies, according to a request for information. The solicitation comes weeks after revelations that VA had spent $5 million two conferences last year.

Tuesday - 08/28/2012, 12:04pm EDT

VA paid $52K for 'Patton' conference training video

A 15-minute training video that cost $52,000 to make joins the examples of excessive spending at two Veterans Affairs' conferences last year with a total pricetag of $5 million.

Thursday - 08/23/2012, 09:45am EDT

Issa probing conferences that exceeded GSA price tag

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is probing more than 150 conferences hosted by 11 agencies since 2005 where wasteful spending or excessive spending may have have occurred, according to a committee release. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the oversight chairman, said the committee is using the lavish $823,000 regional conference hosted by the General Services Administration in 2010 as a "benchmark" to compare other agencies' conference spending. The committee found the Defense Department has held 64 such conferences.

Wednesday - 08/22/2012, 08:33pm EDT

Congressman pledges to hold hearings on VA conference spending

Spa treatments, concert tickets and helicopter and stretch limo rides — the initial details in a Veterans Affairs' Office of the Inspector General investigation could overshadow the GSA conference spending scandal.

Monday - 08/20/2012, 11:48am EDT
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