President Barack Hussein Obama and his administration’s response to a General Services Administration (GSA) scandal over spending over $800,000 on a conference in Las Vegas, NV, in 2010, is to blame former president George Walker Bush. The Obama administration is responding to the recent report that shows a federal agency spent lavishly on a conference by trying to shift some of the blame to the Bush administration. Where have we heard that excuse before? It seems that Obama blames Bush (or somebody or something) for anything that doesn’t cast him in a favorable light.
The “basis” for Obama’s claim is that the GSA conference budget increased under Bush. But, since the GSA holds their conference every two years, Obama, not Bush, was president when the Las Vegas scandal occurred. Plus, the highest cost of the conference under Bush only came a little over $600,000. And none of the conferences held under Bush showed video of federal employees singing about coming under investigation, and playing around on the taxpayer’s dime.
Evidence of overpriced breakfasts in Las Vegas, friends-and-family junkets galore and in-house videos mocking their own profligacy came out first. Now we learn of extravagant bonuses, alleged kickbacks, obstructionism, and bribes. GSA Inspector General Brian Miller said that he is investigating possible bribery and kickbacks in the agency. A GSA employee who attended the Las Vegas conference said that GSA officials routinely created awards to justify taxpayer reimbursement for dinner events. At one such event, GSA bestowed the “jackass award” on an employee.
In the arrogance department, GSA regional commissioner Jeff Neely wrote in an invitation to personal friends: “We’ll get you guys a room near us, and we’ll pick up the room tab. … I know I’m bad, but as Deb and I often say, why not enjoy it while we have it and while we can. Ain’t gonna last forever.” That is the same Jeff “Bubble Bath” Neely who took the Fifth Amendment when called to answer for himself before Congress.
But the GSA scandal is quite small compared to the potential billions of taxpayer dollars that the GSA is funneling to Big Labor Unions. Obama, during his first week in office, signed Executive Order 13502, a union-friendly executive order. It forces contractors who bid on large-scale public construction projects worth $25 million or more to submit to union representation for their employees, which gives unions an advantage via the “project labor agreement,” (PLA) and sets “reasonable” pre-work terms and conditions. But it requires contractors to relinquish exclusive bargaining control, to pay inflated, above-market wages and benefits, and to pay union dues money and pension funding to corrupt, cash-starved labor organizations. These anti-competitive PLAs undermine a fair bidding process on projects that locked-out, non-union laborers are funding with their own tax dollars. The Washington Examiner reported in 2010 that the GSA paid the federal Lafayette Building’s general contractor an additional $3.3 million above the initial $52 million contract to ensure that the project was built with a union-payback PLA. Numerous [GSA] projects have been awarded to contractors submitting PLA bids at the expense of qualified firms opposed to PLA mandates. Full and open competition has been curtailed in violation of the federal Competition in Contracting Act.
The conference-type party continues with our tax dollars for Obama’s union donors and their GSA fixers.
But that’s just my opinion.
Cross-posted at RWNO, my personal web site.