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Federal Eye
Posted at 08:45 AM ET, 04/17/2012

GSA: Second Day of Hearings

Editor note: This posting has been corrected. It was originally and mistakenly posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012, rather than Tuesday, April 17. Read Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson’s report on Wednesday morning’s Senate hearing on GSA.

The second day of hearings on the General Services Administration spending scandal will unfold Tuesday morning before a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, chaired by Republican Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.).

Rep. John L. Mica, chair of the full committee, has been a frequent and frustrated critic of the agency’s handing of federal property, and jumped on the scandal as just one example of GSA problems.

As with Monday’s hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, expect more lawmaker outrage in response to the spending fiasco in the GSA’s Pacific Rim region, where federal officials have been accused of squandering more than $800,000 in taxpayer dollars on a Las Vegas conference.

Some witnesses who testified Monday have been invited again, including Inspector General Brian Miller, who issued a stinging report on the conference earlier this month; Martha Johnson, the former GSA chief who abruptly resigned because of the controversy; and the man at the center of the scandal, Jeff Neely, who organized the conference.

During Monday’s hearing, Neely invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to answer questions.

But those who have been following the GSA crisis will take special interest in several other of the morning’s set witnesses:

Top among them is Robert Peck, one of the two Johnson deputies who also lost their jobs.

Peck, a longtime business leader in the Washington metro area, has numerous supporters who believe he has been unfairly caught up in the scandal. Critics have said he was far too lax a manager and have questioned the expenses for a party that Peck hosted during the conference.

Peck was one of three people who received letters demanding that the federal government be reimbursed for social events held during the conference.

The Washington Post’s Capital Business reporter Jonathan O’Connell profiled Peck for this morning’s editions.

Also expected to appear is GSA Deputy Administrator Susan Brita, who was credited in the inspector general’s report for bringing the 2010 conference to his attention. Expect lawmakers to shower her with praise, and use her as an example of what other federal workers should do in the face of government waste and abuse.

Find the witness list here.

By Marcia Davis  |  08:45 AM ET, 04/17/2012

 
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