The Hill's Floor Action Blog reports:
Cause of Action, a government accountability watchdog group, has filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to 28 federal agencies seeking any evidence that they used taxpayer dollars to buy commemorative awards.
The group's request followed this week's report from the General Services Administration's Inspector General, which found that GSA spent more than $800,000 on a lavish conference in Las Vegas. That report prompted GSA Administrator Martha Johnson to resign.
Cause of Action's FOIA request notes that GSA spent $6,325 on commemorative coins that were not permissible awards to conference attendees, and asks each of the 28 agencies to detail if they too spent money on these types of awards.
“Our economy is facing a recession, our government can't pass a budget, and federal agencies a
re choosing to spend taxpayer dollars on trinkets for their employees or third parties,” Cause of Action Executive Director Dan Epstein said. “Instead of preserving our tax dollars for necessary spending, these agencies have traded coin for coins that hold no value. This is yet another example of frivolous and wasteful government spending that deserves to be exposed.”
The group's FOIA request asks for a reply within 20 business days that details any similar spending from January 2009 to the present.
The group sent FOIA requests to the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Homeland Security, Labor, Energy, Education, State, and Transportation, among others, and their respective Inspector General offices.
House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) said he would hold a hearing on GSA's Las Vegas junket, and has since said the hearing will be held at 10 a.m. April 19.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has also called for a hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the GSA trip, but no hearing has been scheduled yet.