Congress tells GSA: Do As We Say, Not As We Do


Congress doth protest too much


Congressional hearings this week examining the General Services Administration’s conference in Las Vegas that cost more than $800,000 along with violations of travel and spending rules was a first class exercise in chutzpah, something congress excels in.

Members from both parties on Wednesday called for the agency at the center of a spending scandal to clean house as it roots out corruption.

“The party’s over,” thundered Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, at one of four congressional hearing so far this week on the controversy.

At a Senate appropriations subcommittee hearing,  Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, wondered how the hundreds of GSA employees exposed to the excesses failed to question the obvious misconduct taking place.  “It’s appalling that someone didn’t say, ‘Wait a minute. Isn’t this going overboard?’ ” Durbin said. Was he talking about the GSA or congress?

Ranking Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma said of the GSA that “if there’s anyone who has a propensity to do something dishonest, that’s where they ought to be” because “they deal with huge numbers.” He went on to say “I am concerned that this type of waste has become an embedded part of the culture at the GSA.”

This posturing, in an election year no less, is preaching temperance from the bar stool.

Senators Boxer and Durbin are integral parts of the Democratic Senate cabal that passed blow-out spending in the 2 years that Democrats owned both houses of congress and the White House resulting in annual trillion-dollar deficits. They never saw spending, on virtually anything, that they didn’t like, from “Bridges to Nowhere” to “Bridges to Re-Election.” Now they are shocked that there is wasteful spending in government? Mark this down as Congresses’ Inspector Renault impersonation that Claude Rains would admire: yes Senators Boxer and Durbin, there is wasteful spending in government; now about the latest bill you are proposing?

As to Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, he is correct that when dealing with “huge numbers,” there is always the propensity for malfeasance; absolute power corrupts absolutely. But the good Senator would be more credible if he were not a defender of earmarks. When that was a hot topic seemingly forever (2 years) ago, he said “Getting rid of earmarks does not save taxpayers any money, reduces transparency, and gives more power to the Obama administration…”

So while it does not excuse the GSA or any government agency from wasting taxpayer money, it is understandable that when congress sets the spendthrift atmosphere that it has, others believe that it is encouraged, if not condoned.

-I.M. Windee

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