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How Much Money Can Government Bureaucrats Waste?

Monday April 16th, 2012   •   Posted by Craig Eyermann at 8:34am PDT   •  

What happens when the federal government’s bureaucrats, such as those of the General Services Administration, don’t have any effective oversight in the executive branch when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars?

Well, rather than us tell you, let’s have the reporters of the Washington Post describe the agency’s Inspector General’s findings of fiscal malfeasance, which directly led to the untimely resignation of the agency’s chief bureaucrat, Martha N. Johnson:

Among the “excessive, wasteful and in some cases impermissable” spending the inspector general documented: $5,600 for three semi-private catered in-room parties and $44 per person daily breakfasts; $75,000 for a “team-building” exercise — the goal was to build a bicycle; $146,000 on catered food and drinks; and $6,325 on commemorative coins in velvet boxes to reward all participants for their work on stimulus projects. The $31,208 “networking” reception featured a $19-per-person artisanal cheese display and $7,000 of sushi. At the conference’s closing-night dinner, employees received “yearbooks” with their pictures, at a cost of $8,130.

Altogether, we would estimate that all the line items of wasteful spending at this single regional conference documented by the agency’s Inspector General account for about half of the $830,000 total bill for the event that was picked up by the taxpayers.

Funny how loose a government agency’s purse strings become when there’s an opportunity for its employees to cash in on perks.

For the sake of sending the right message to other federal government bureaucrats, we would suggest that the benefits of the individuals who joined in the employee porkfest at taxpayer expense represented by the GSA’s Western Regions conference ought to be permanently reduced by a percentage equal to the documented percentage of money wasted.

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April 2012