GSA Scandal: So What Does $823,000 Buy You in Las Vegas?

Amid new allegations of lavish spending, Newsfeed breaks down the damage done to taxpayer wallets at the General Services Administration's infamous Las Vegas blowout.

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Lawmakers are taking turns lambasting the General Services Administration for its lavish spending habits, and the agency will endure a third consecutive day of scrutiny Wednesday when two Senate committees review its budget, the Washington Post reports.

The federal government’s real estate and supply agency made waves for stiffing taxpayers with an $823,000 bill from a Las Vegas conference in October 2010, but further probes revealed a history of excessive spending and misconduct. For instance, while most interns survive on monthly stipends, GSA treated about 120 of its interns to a five-day conference at a Palm Springs, Calif., resort in May 2010. More recently, an investigation led by Inspector General Brian D. Miller found 115 missing Apple iPods meant for an employee-rewards program.

(MORE: GSA Testimony Becomes Tense on 2nd Day)

Thanks to Miller’s investigation into the agency and its fete, taxpayers can see how their hard-earned cash is put to use. On the heels of Tax Day, here are some highlights of how the agency spent nearly a million dollars on a single party:

Western Regions Conference Planning: $136,504
• $100,405.37 in employee travel costs for pre-planning meetings, scouting trips and a “dry run.”
• More than $30,000 in pre-conference catering including lunch at $57.72 per person.

Western Regions Conference Catering: $146, 527
• $5,600 for three semi-private in-room parties
• $79, 511 for light refreshments and breakfast
• $31,208 for a “networking reception”
• $44 per head for daily breakfast
• $30,208, or about $95 per person, for reception and dinner

Team-Building Exercise: $75,000
• Teams built bicycles which were later donated to the local Boys’ and Girls Club

Other Party Perks:
• $3,749.40 for T-shirts
• $2,781.50 for water bottles
• $400 for rented tuxedos for three officials
• $6,325 for commemorative coins in velvet boxes for all participants
• $1,840 on vests for 19 “regional ambassadors” and other employees

The AP also notes that taxpayers footed the bill for $7,000 on sushi at a networking reception and $3,200 for a session with a mind reader. See the full report here.

MORE: Secret Service Scandal: When Bureaucrats Behave Badly, Politicians Sense an Opportunity

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