Y! Big Story: Sorry for party rocking: GSA, Secret Service scandals

Sorry for party rocking…
Haters don’t like, we got the spotlight
Sorry for party rocking….
If you show up already tore up this is what you say
Sorry for party rocking

LMFAO, this is no time for infighting when your song could be the soundtrack for White House woes.

Hotel Caribe, Colombia

Americans are the world’s hardest workers, putting in longer hours than any other developed countries. We work so hard, we even work 11 more hours a week compared to a couple generation ago. So yeah, we understand if you wanna have fun and do something, get crazy, get wild.

Unless you’re in the government and trying to throw a bash on our collective dime. (Remember the AIG executives who partied after getting a $85 billion federal bailout?) Or worse, threatening national security by getting blacked out with your sack out, then trying to duck out of the bill. (Thereby cementing another American reputation, that of being the world’s worst tourists.)

GSA hearing

By a weird twist of fate, two government scandals erupted around the same time, even though one party happened two years ago. (Actually, there was a third scandal this month: Online interest briefly bubbled over a fired Navy commodore who allowed hard-drinking parties under his watch and swam around nude in conservative Bahrain.)

So LMFAO, before you start booking those separate appearances, see if you can’t look at this chart and get inspired for another song — and read on about the woman who cleaned up in Cartegena, worse fed spending, and some tongue-in-cheek Web reactions.

Buzz Chart: GSA vs. Secret Service
Incident GSA Secret Service
The sin Wasting taxpayer money: Acting commissioner Jeff Neely, who reportedly ran the San Francisco region of the General Services Administration like a “fiefdom,” wanted an “over the top” party. Complaints finally reached the Inspector General, who released a blistering report on April 2. Risking security threats and short-changing prostitutes: There to make sure everything would be ready for the president before the Summit of the Americas in Colombia, 12 agents and 11 military dudes got blitzed and consorted with escorts. They didn’t blow their cover with the ladies, but a fight over services rendered led to a local TV station breaking the story.
Numbers Bill = $822,751 for 300 employees. Sample expenses:

*Suggestion: Sell on eBay, repay taxpayers.

Unknown. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund wants an accounting, but the hooker expense looked to be out-of-pocket. One escort Dania Suarez wanted $800, and got a $30 counter-offer to cover cab fare. An argument broke out, involving local police (who “tried to argue the woman’s case” since prostitution is mostly legal). She received $225.
What they do The agency employs 12,000 people, oversees federal buildings and supplies, presides over presidential transitions and historic preservation, and runs the rules and regulations of travel and conferences for federal agencies. The Secret Service employs more than 6,500, protects national and visiting leaders, and performs criminal investigations.
Party planner Jeff Neely, with input from his wife, the “First Lady of Region 9.” The so-called bully, sticking to the “What Stays in Vegas” motto, invoked the Fifth Amendment at a congressional hearing. Under investigation
Disapproving congressional committees and watchdogs House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Inspector General House Homeland Security Committee, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and the Office of Professional Responsibility, aka Secret Service internal affairs
Consequences A dozen employees gone, including GSA head Martha Johnson. Neely’s on administrative leave, prompting Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to ask, “What does it take to be fired from the GSA?!” A senator has introduced an Accountability in Government Act bill, and the Inspector General’s hotline is getting hotter. The 11 agents were put on administrative leave and sent home. Six no longer work for the Secret Service. The military folks stayed on the job, although “confined to their quarters.” The congressional committee has “10 requests” for information they want answered by May 1.
Random name dropping that has nothing to do with this case Nobody exciting Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent
Y! searches GSA, GSA Scandal, ExGSA Vegas, Grilling GSA, GSA 5th Amendment, GSA Per Diem, GSA Spending Hearing, Jeff Neely GSA, Jeff Neely, Senate GSA Party, Martha Johnson, Martha Johnson Resigns, What Does GSA Stand For, What Does GSA Do, What Happens in Vegas Secret Service, Elite Secret Service, Colombia, Bombs Obama Colombia, Cartegena Colombia, Colombia prostitutes, Colombian girls, Colombian prostitutes, Colombian women, Mark Sullivan Secret Service, Obama Colombia, Pley Club Colombia, Prostitute Secret Service, Prostitution secret service

GSA: There are worse things: Before we get to some juicy stuff, many observers think $832,000 is chump change, what with worse fraudulent spending afoot:

But when it comes to government scandals, GSA pales in comparison. Take the Wartime Contracting Commission, it found the Defense and State departments and others wasted as much as $60 billion on contracting. Or how about the Air Force refueling tanker scandal, which saw Darleen Druyun, the service’s No. 2 acquisition official, break procurement laws and go to jail over a $24 billion contract and Boeing pay more than $600 million in fines… Then there’s the Jack Abramaoff lobbying scandal…And finally, there’s the Interior Department’s former Minerals Management Service…Officials at MMS, which Interior eventually broke up into two new bureaus, were found by the inspector general to have a ‘culture of ethical failure…’ (April 19, Federal News Radio)

The Federal News Radio goes on to list programs that could be cut, among them subsidies to the “wealthiest farmers” ($9 billion) and GSA overcharges ($62 million) and built a timeline of waste.

[Related: The GSA scandal’s powerful and powerless players]

Secret Service…We need more female agents: The Sunday talk shows have drilled into the scandal, asking about accountability and the agency’s tarnished rep. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., brought up the stat that 11% of agents are female. Republican senator Susan Collins of Maine agrees that could be a relevant stat:

“I can’t help but wonder if there had been more women as part of that detail if this ever would have happened,” Collins said on ABC’s “This Week.” (April 22, AP)

As it turns out, the cleanup did go to a woman, natch — Paula Reid, who heads the Miami bureau.

Even Las Vegas got defensive: Sin City’s mayor asked that the congressional hearings focus on the GSA and not to “scapegoat” her town. Senator Harry Reid also backpedaled, saying what the GSA did “has nothing to do with Las Vegas.”

Don’t worry, there’s a technicality to that “What Happens Here, Stays Here” promise: M Resort is actually in Henderson, not Vegas proper.

[Related: How is the GSA spending your money?]

GSA vs. Secret Service jokes: Secret Service, winning.

  • Headline: “Hookers Downgrade U.S. Credit Rating: Shortchanging by Secret Service Draws Strong Rebuke.”
  • “President Obama is gearing up for his presidential campaign. He’s creating a new series of ads. The first ad boasts ‘just last week my Secret Service created jobs for 11 Colombian women.'” April 18, Conan O’Brien
  • “This year the government will spend a trillion dollars more than it will take in. Experts say 32 percent of our taxes go to defense. And the rest buys hookers for the Secret Service.” April 17, Craig Ferguson
  • “In case you’re wondering where your tax dollars go, 21 percent goes to Medicare and Medicaid, 20 percent to social security, 20 percent to defense spending, and the other 39 percent they squander.” April 17, Jimmy Kimmel
  • “Oh, here’s your tax dollars at work. This is what makes people furious. The head of the GSA, a woman named Martha Johnson, has resigned after they found out she spent over $830,000 on a four-day government conference in Las Vegas. And the president is furious. Not President Obama, the president of China. It’s his money. It’s his money she spent.” April 3, Jay Leno

Best Secret Service video? We’ll give it to the Taiwanese, although Colbert was awfully close:

Best GSA video? None other than one of its own. Short version below, long version here:

[Related: Secret Service escort scandal: More details emerge]

The Hillary Clinton conspiracy we just made up: On the heels of her recently retired texting meme, pictures of the secretary of state in Colombia slugging a beer and dancing made juicy headlines and searches (hillary clinton in colombia, hillary clinton partying). London even dared to ask if Clinton was becoming an “embarrassment.” So 22 agents went out, got drunk, and brought company back to their hotel room, all to distract attention. That’s what Secret Service do, yo.

[Related: Hillary Clinton parties in Colombia]

Hillary Clinton text meme

This post was updated to reflect that a dozen Secret Service agents were involved, and include mention of the Sunday talk show coverage.