The fallout over a costly 2010 General Services Administration conference continues to roll over the agency, as congressional committees grilled current and former GSA officials about their roles in the spending scandal.
At the first of several hearings on GSA, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on April 16 heard a former acting GSA regional administrator and key figure in the controversy, Jeffrey Neely, decline to answer questions, citing his Fifth Amendment rights six times. Lawmakers focused on an $822,000 GSA Public Buildings Service (PBS) conference that an April 2 inspector general's report termed "excessive and wasteful." The day the report was released, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson resigned after she dismissed PBS chief Robert Peck and another top agency official.
New GSA Acting Administrator Daniel Tangherlini said he has begun a "top to bottom" review of the agency and given its chief financial officer authority over the budgets of its 11 regional offices. Tangherlini also told reporters that no new or existing GSA construction projects had been cancelled or postponed.
At a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on April 17, Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) said GSA's problems extend beyond the notorious conference. He and other lawmakers raised the idea of restructuring or replacing the agency.