City Desk

GSA Spending Spree Fallout Has Obama “Apoplectic”

The scandal over spending by the General Services Administration—the federal government's landlord, which controls vast swaths of D.C. office space—has President Barack Obama furious, says David Axelrod, via New York magazine:

[...]President Obama is "apoplectic" over the the ongoing investigation into the General Services Administration's elaborate 2010 conference in Vegas, which has caused something of problem for the administration. Whether he's apoplectic on principle or because $820,000 in taxpayer money spent on mind-readers and sushi is exactly the kind of headache one doesn't need in an election year is unclear, but those with an ax to grind are certainly underscoring the latter issue.

Last week, the Post noted the unusual role GSA head Jeffrey Neely's wife had at the agency. Deborah Neely—who isn't a government employee—used staff credentials to accompany her husband to a trade show, and extended work trips to celebrate birthdays, according to federal investigators:

And as recently as February, when a draft of Miller’s highly critical report on the Western Regions Conference in Las Vegas was awaiting a response from GSA officials, the Neelys took a 17-day government-related trip to Hawaii, Guam and the Mariana Islands. The couple planned to celebrate her birthday on the trip.

“It’s yo birfday. . . . We gonna pawty like iz yo birfday!” Deborah Neely said in an e-mail to her husband, according to documents.

Unfortunately the Neelys have not been charged for criminal use of ebonics.

At the GSA site, acting head Dan Tangherlini (a former D.C. government guy!) has an apologetic video message up for the ridiculous spending at the Las Vegas conference.

Correction: Due to a fairly stupid editing error, this post originally misidentified the GSA.

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  • REAL Native Washingtonian

    Alot of the people getting in trouble for this spending are the GS Level workers when they were practically forced to spend this money. This money was spent on political things and this was not spent in the NCR region. In most other parts of the nation were jobs are far more scarce than in Washington D.C., if you dont do what the boss tells you or you make a fuss, you're fired. It sounds ugly and people might say "you could've stood up for something" but nobody wants to lose a great job or be blackballed. plain and simple. we're focusing on the wrong people here as a society.

  • Some Guy

    Shani, how would you transcribe the verse from "In Da Club" that Ms Neely quoted? I would quibble a little, but she is not far off.

  • Shani Hilton

    @Some Guy: well, I wouldn't.

  • Jeff

    You got most of the words in the acronym GSA wrong.

  • Free Editor

    GSA = General Services Administration, not Government Services Agency.

  • Shani Hilton

    @Jeff / @Free Editor: I'm letting Mike Madden take the fall for that one.