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Federal Worker’s Rap Video on Unlimited $$ and No Accountability Wins GSA Award

Saturday April 7th, 2012   •   Posted by David Theroux at 12:24pm PDT   •  

In “Bad Rap: Video Spoof Amplifies Agency Ill” (Wall Street Journal), Peter Landers reports that in a rap video produced by a Government Service Agency (GSA) employee, he fantasizes about being a GSA Commissioner and spending lavish amounts of taxpayers’ dollars with no accountability. For the video, he won a GSA contest, which was held at a lavish four-day, GSA conference in Las Vegas that cost taxpayers $822,751. (The GSA manages federal government buildings and other properties, and the awards ceremony from the conference is at the end of the video, found below.)

A music video in which a young employee of the General Services Administration fantasized about being a big-spending commissioner at the agency has added a heap of embarrassment to the scandal that toppled the agency’s chief earlier in the week.

GSA staffer Hank Terlaje modeled his video on the song “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars. He opened with, “I wanna be commissioner so frickin’ bad,” and sang in the refrain, “Every time I close my eyes, I see my name on Federal Times.”

Mr. Terlaje described the lavish spending he would order if he attained “a corner office with a scene,” saying he would “buy everything a field office can’t afford.” Even with such exploits, he boasted that he would “never be under OIG investigation,” referring to the agency’s office of the inspector general.

The video won a contest among employees of the agency, which manages government buildings and other property, at a 2010 gathering outside Las Vegas—the very event that spawned the scandal. The inspector general’s office on Monday released a report saying the conference cost taxpayers $822,751, including “excessive” and “wasteful” trips by officials to the hotel to plan the event. GSA Administrator Martha Johnson resigned the same day after firing two of her deputies.

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), released the video. “Wow. Just wow,” Mr. Issa tweeted Friday morning, saying he had just viewed the video again.

A GSA spokesman said, “This video is another example of the complete lack of judgment exhibited during the 2010 Western Regions Conference. Our agency continues to be appalled by this indefensible behavior, and we are taking every step possible to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

Mr. Terlaje, who works in the GSA’s Honolulu office, couldn’t be located for comment.

The video also includes footage from the awards ceremony at the 2010 conference.

“Sometimes, dreams do come true. So I’m here to officially make you commissioner for a day,” a GSA official told Mr. Terlaje at the ceremony. The official joked that Mr. Terlaje needed to talk to the hotel “about paying for the party that was held in the commissioner’s suite last night.”

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April 2012