The chief of the General Services Administration and two top aides are stepping down after a lavish Vegas trip that angered taxpayers as well as the president when the list of expenses came to light.
GSA chief Martha Johnson acknowledged a “significant misstep,” and admitted that taxpayer dollars were “squandered” during the October 2010 training conference in Las Vegas. Among the items on the tab paid for by the government were a reception billed at $31,208, $6,300 in “commemorative coin sets,” $3,200 for a “mind reader,” and a stunning $75,000 for a training exercise to build a bicycle.
Along with Johnson, Public Buildings Service chief Robert A. Peck and Peck’s advisor Stephen Leeds also stepped down. (As part of the nearly $900,000 Vegas spending orgy, $2,000 was billed for a private party in Peck’s suite.) Lawmakers blasted the spending in the House and Senate, with Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) calling the the GSA scandal a “a stupid and infuriating waste of taxpayer dollars” and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) decrying a situation indicative of “waste that exists in a bloated federal government.”
But it wasn’t just Republicans and “Independents” taking a stance against the lavish Vegas spending at the center of the GSA scandal- President Obama also issued a statement through White House chief of staff Jack Lew. In the statement, the Commander in Chief expressed “outrage,” and basically called for GSA firings. The statement read:
“On his first day in office, President Obama made clear that the people who serve in his Administration are keepers of the public trust and that public service is a privilege. Under his leadership, this Administration has taken historic steps to protect taxpayer dollars and eliminate waste across the federal government.”