The General Services Administration came under new scrutiny Thursday with the release of a video of an employee rapping in sunglasses about extravagant spending at a Las Vegas conference, boasting that he will "never be under investigation" for the excess.
The six-minute clip was entered in a talent contest among 300 employees who flew to the four-day training and team-building event at the luxury M Resort Spa Casino in October 2010.
It won top prize -- and was showcased at a red-carpet awards ceremony during the conference's closing dinner. In another clip, a top GSA official who has assumed the duties of the agency's former Public Buildings Service chief rewards Hank Terlaje, 28, by making him honorary commissioner for a day. Then the official jokes about an after-hours party the night before in the loft suite of Commissioner Robert Peck:
"The hotel would like to talk to you about paying for the party that was held in the commissioner's suite last night," Deputy Commissioner David Foley jokes. The crowd breaks into laughs and applause.
The clips, released Thursday by the office of House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., provided a bookend to a week of salacious revelations of government excess: $823,000 in taxpayer money for a junket at the height of the recession that involved little training and plenty of poolside revelry.
The clips were provided to Issa, among the Obama administration's biggest critics on Capitol Hill, by the GSA inspector general's office, which on Monday released a yearlong investigation of the Western Regions conference. Hours before Brian Miller's report went online, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson resigned, two of her top deputies who attended the conference were fired and four regional commissioners were escorted from their offices, placed on administrative leave.