You may not remember those prostitutes in Colombia last month. After all, you weren’t even there – unless you were part of the security detail that’s charged with protecting President Obama. Still, you, your Aunt Penelope and the neighbor across the street paid for those prostitutes – just as you’re paying for the grand vacation for members of the General Services Administration in 2010. What? You don’t remember that Vegas trip? Neither do we – but we’re all paying for it, courtesy of our hard earned tax dollars.
Now, though, it looks as though significant efforts are being made to ensure those responsible are being held accountable. Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wasted no time with small talk. They confronted those from the General Services Administration called to testify Monday. Those confrontations included demands for a strict punishment, and often, included yelling matches.
The head of the agency reiterated his commitment to ensure “a few” GSA officials to repay the government for expenses not allowed on an expense report. Another probe is being made to see what kind, if any, criminal charges can be made. This is only the beginning as it’s expected several of these confrontational meetings will play out in the coming weeks. Remember, the focus right now is on Jeffrey Neely, who is the western regional commissioner. He’s been placed on leave while his role in the near-$1 million conference is investigated.
Not Your Money
As many expected, Neely opted to plead the Fifth. In fact, he did so at least six times with questions that were simple and could have in no way implicated him. Speaking to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA),
Mr. Chairman, on the advise of my counsel I respectfully decline to answer based upon my Fifth Amendment constitutional privilege,
He repeated that every time he was asked a question.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) called his behavior intolerable and an indefensible pattern of misconduct. And he didn’t let up, either. He went on to point out several occasions of gloating about the money he was spending. He also accused Neely, along with his wife, of spending insulting amounts of federal dollars, as if they moved forward with the attitude that they were
some kind of agency royalty who used taxpayer funds to bankroll their lavish lifestyle… you violated one of the most basic tenets of government service. It’s not your money,
he concluded. GSA Inspector General Brian Miller also told the committee that fear of retaliation from Neely was a “significant factor” among employees in the agency. “They apparently had a very hostile environment,” Miller said.
As the questions and accusations continued, it became obvious Neely was more than a little rattled. He wore it on his face and surely he knows it’s only going to get worse. There’s not been any information released regarding how many government credit cards were used, though it’s expected an accurate number will soon emerge. For now, Neely and several others are on administrative leave and there’s been no word on whether or not they are continuing to receive their salaries.
Agents and Women of the Night
At least twelve Secret Service agents who were sent to Colombia ahead of President Obama’s visit have been relieved of their duties as yet another government scandal unfolds. This time, though it’s accusations of hiring prostitutes and other unbelievable items on the taxpayer’s dime.
The Washington Post reported that Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said the accusations related to at least one agent having involvement with prostitutes in Cartagena, located in Colombia. Several “in the know” have admitted they were aware of much of what was going on, still, there were many who had no idea how alarming things had become.
They say they played absolutely no role in the festivities. This story broke when a hotel representative approached one of the agents and requested he pay the difference for the “extra guest” in the room. That difference would have totaled less than $50. Instead, the agent became defensive and refused to pay up. This put the wheels in motion that eventually revealed who that guest was: a local prostitute.
Unlike the Vegas getaway mentioned above, this scandal is much more recent – in fact, it’s all began to unravel in the past several days. The White House has declined to comment at this time, though President Obama was still days away from his own arrival into the country.
Those suspected of being involved have been routed back to their home base. Other military personnel are expected to complete the job.
So what do you think should have to all these government employees if it turns out they were using money that didn’t belong to them to cover expenses such as spas, extravagant dinners, shows and, of course, prostitution? Lose their jobs? Face jail time? Both?
Similar Credit Card Blog Posts
- What You Need to Know About Student Loans
- What is Future for Campaign Finance Reform?
- Can We Live Without a Credit Card?
- Nixon’s Influence on the Financial Sector
- Troubled Airlines, Furloughs and Travel Rewards Credit Cards
- FHA Halts New Credit Restrictions
- Co-Branded and Prepaid Credit Card Offers