GSA spends more than $130K on conference "scouting trips", a timeline


While most of the scandal around GSA’s lavish 2010 conference in Las Vegas revolves around overpriced mind readers, ridiculously expensive team-building activities and expensive meals, GSA also spent more than $130,000 just to pick the spot where they were going to blow more than $686,000.

So for your reading pleasure, a timeline of all the scouting trips GSA employees took to plan for the conference.

The morning of Monday, October 25, and all of Friday, October 29, were travel days.

GSA published a notice of its planned procurement on February 2, 2009. The subsequent conference planning meetings included the following:

March ’09 Five GSA employees conducted a “scouting trip” to visit nine Las Vegas-area hotels.

March ’09 15 GSA employees returned to visit two of the nine hotels again, staying at the M Resort and the Ritz-Carlton.

August ’09 Seven GSA employees stayed at the M Resort for a planning meeting

November ’09 A second WRC planning meeting, attended by 11 GSA employees, was held at the M Resort following Region 9’s leadership council meeting.

March ’10 16 GSA employees stayed at the M Resort again for a planning meeting.

June ’10 Nine GSA employees attended another planning meeting, this one at a Marriott Hotel in Denver, Colorado.

August ’10 21 GSA employees attended a conference planning meeting at the M Resort.

October ’10 Thirty-one GSA employees traveled to the M Resort for a “dry run” of the conference to be held later that month.

These off-site meetings cost the government over $130,000, including:

  • A total of $100,405.37 in employee travel costs.
  • Significant spending on catered food and beverages during the various pre-conference trips to the M Resort, totaling over $30,000 for the scouting trip, four pre-planning meetings, and dry run. These charges included $57.72 per head lunches ($44 for lunch plus beverages and a 22% gratuity) and $48.80 breakfasts ($40 plus a 22% gratuity).
  • Other expenses, such as audio-visual services and printing costs.




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  1. norm from ga on

    And I would wager that each attendee receiving those $40 breakfasts and $44 lunches also received their full $71 per diem allowance for missed meals…

  2. Another case of “Do what I say, not what I do” for the Federal Gov’t. Only this time the Democrat appointees got caught! Go figure…………..

  3. This sort of corruption should warrant criminal charges and jail time for all involved. Further, all involved should be required to re-imburse the government for the expenses charge, plus interest.

    And, last but not least all involved should, in addition to jail time, be terminated and be forever ineligible for any federal job, be it appointed or elected. All benefits, including any employee contributions to TSP as well as CSRS should be forfeited.

    This degree of punishment would serve well as a deterrent against future abuses of taxpayer dollars.

  4. You know Grumpy, in the mid 90’s, I once expressed alarm to a senior OMB manager about how OPM had literally blown 26 million over two years due to stupidity in mismanaging a contract intended to enhance automation of it’s retirement system. To my amazement, the OMB guy laughed and told me to relax. Hell, he said, NASA can blow that much in a week. OPM has gone on since to blow probably 100 million on the same automation effort and in 2012 it still has NOTHING. Most people don’t understand the breadth and depth of waste, fraud, and mismanagement in govt. A DemonRat congress established Inspectors General 35 years ago to make taxpayers think something was actually being done to correct this situation. But it was just eyewash to sooth their irritation and congress knew it. Did it fool you? It’s fooled alot of people.

  5. There is a very simple solution for this fiasco. The cost of all these wasted trips absolutely need to be deducted from the net yearly income or the retirement funds of all who attended. At least 10% of the cost of this trip should come out of the retirement fund of the director. If this is done, you won’t have to worry about the next fiasco coming down the line.

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