WORKING TO ELIMINATE GOVERNMENT WASTE
Date: April 13, 2012
By: Bob Goodlatte
Working to reduce government waste is a significant undertaking and one to which I remain firmly dedicated. It is critical to ensure that the Congress responsibly manages federal spending, especially our tax dollars, to fund our nation’s priorities through greater transparency and accountability. That is why I have worked to rein in wasteful and unnecessary spending by voting for the tightest budgets offered and supporting reductions in overall government spending. I am proud to say that I am the only Member of Congress from Virginia to receive an “A” rating from the National Taxpayers Union. This rating is based on the votes I cast on important issues such as taxes, spending and debt. Responsible spending benefits everyone and I strongly believe that all federal programs and agencies should undergo scrutiny in order to ensure that they are working effectively to meet the needs of our citizens.
Just two weeks ago the General Services Administration (GSA) Inspector General issued a report which detailed an egregious waste of taxpayer money by the agency. Fortunately, what happened in Vegas didn’t stay in Vegas. The report documented nearly $1 million in taxpayer funds that were spent on a training conference outside of Las Vegas. Expenses included hundreds of thousands of dollars that were wasted on travel expenses to plan the conference and thousands of dollars that were used to pay for private parties, commemorative coins and yearbooks for all participants. They even spent taxpayer money to hire a clown and a mind reader. All of these expenses are utterly ridiculous and every American should be outraged that their hard earned money was squandered by the GSA.
I have long had concerns about the mismanagement of the GSA and believe that this most recent IG report is yet another example of the kind of waste and abuse that seems to be running rampant at this agency.
In 2010 the GSA Inspector General released an audit of the renovation of the Poff Federal Building which is located in Roanoke. Just like in this most recent report, the IG found that the GSA was guilty of wasting taxpayer money. The audit indicated that the GSA provided the maximum contract amount, in violation of federal contracting law, for the renovation of the Poff Building. This clear violation of the Competition in Contracting Act, resulting in the bidding companies knowing the maximum amount that the government would pay for their work, deprived taxpayers of a fair process to determine the true cost of the project.
Given these scathing reports, the head of the GSA resigned and other top officials were fired, which is welcome news in light of their significant mismanagement of taxpayer money. With the departure of the GSA Administrator it would be good if the pattern of irresponsible actions on the part of the GSA came to an end. But there is still much more work to be done. We must continue rooting out waste and working to reduce spending in all areas of the federal government. Every federal agency should be on notice that waste and abuse of taxpayer money will not be tolerated.