Top GSA Official to Plead the Fifth Over Vegas Conference

Jeff Neely is the regional GSA administrator for the Western Region and the lavish conference in Las Vegas in 2010 was planned under his watch. It seems that there was no legitimate reason for the conference which cost taxpayers upwards of $800,000. I, for one, would love to hear what Neely has to say about it. But we won’t be able to because he’s invoking the Fifth Amendment.

The General Services Administration official tasked with organizing a now-infamous $822,000 Las Vegas conference plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights ahead of a scheduled Monday grilling on the Hill.
On Thursday, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) served a subpoena to require Jeff Neely to appear before the committee, according to Democratic committee documents obtained by POLITICO. Neely’s attorney on Friday informed the committee Neely will exercise his right against self-incrimination and requested not to attend the hearing.

Neely, who is now on administrative leave, may also be investigated by the Department of Justice. I guess they need someone to throw under the bus, and since Neely’s an old white guy he’s fair game.

None of these new revelations are news to the Obama administration. They’ve known about it for quite some time.

An internal government memo released Friday shows GSA officials were concerned about the federal agency’s now-infamous 2010 Las Vegas-area conference long before details of the lavish spending, satirical videos and other embarrassing details emerged this month.

Susan Brita, the GSA’s deputy administrator and an Obama political appointee, emailed other agency officials in July 2011 saying the agency’s inspector general found “no substantive agenda” at the conference.

She also said that expenses for a clown suit, bicycles for a training exercise, tuxedos and a mind-reader “didn’t lend themselves to the claim of a substantive conference.”

Brita suggested the agency should deal with the prospect of the news media latching onto the conference’s nearly $1 million cost.

If the story “were to hit the press, what would public reaction be?” Britta wrote. “What would congressional reaction be?”

Last year, Brita questioned why Neely had received only a disciplinary letter. (Read More)

Other revelations about the GSA’s over the top spending that have come out in recent days include a five day excursion to Hawaii for a one hour ribbon cutting, a posh Palm Springs conference for interns, and hundreds of thousands of dollars wasted on scouting out conference locations. And President Obama is out there pushing for tax hikes. Read about all of their catering bills and room upgrades paid for by the taxpayers at Fox Business.