WUSA 9 Is Asking GSA Employees To Blow The Whistle

7:07 PM, Apr 11, 2012   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- 9 Wants to Know's investigative team is asking GSA employees and the public to help identify any corruption or waste at the General Services Administration.

The tips will be investigated as part of an upcoming report from WUSA 9 Investigative Reporter Russ Ptacek, which will reveal never before told issues at the GSA.

Former administrator Martha Johnson, who resigned last week, isn't cooperating with the 9 Wants to Know investigation.

"Thank you for your email," said Sahar Wali, a former White House communications director who also worked at GSA. "Mrs. Johnson is not available to participate at this time."

WUSA 9 is awaiting a response from the GSA on an interview request with acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini.

Johnson resigned when an Inspector General report exposed an $820,000 Las Vegas conference where GSA VIP's stayed in 2400 square foot hotel suites.

Since then, videos of GSA employees mocking the agency's easy money policies have surfaced and late Tuesday, Republican oversight leaders identified a GSA official they say stayed an additional night on the taxpayer dime after the conference ended.

Although the official paid the $93 government rate for the suite, a statement from the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure says the rest of the $1,000 rate "was apparently charged to the taxpayer."

"As we continue to learn of the GSA's extreme misuse of funds, now adding personal vacation stays in Vegas to our taxpayers' tabs, there must be serious action for the outrageous spending habits," said U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA). "This appears to be fraud, plain and simple, and the American people deserve to know what's going on with their tax dollars."

Shortly after we announced our search for whistleblowers at the GSA, an agency spokesman e-mailed the 9 Wants to Know investigative team a letter from Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini requesting very similar information.

"If you see something that doesn't seem right to you, please discuss it with your colleagues, your supervisor, or higher levels in the organization," Tangherlini said in the GSA letter. "One of the more troubling aspects of this incident is that people did not report this improper conduct or take action to stop it."

Tangherlini told GSA workers to contact the agency's Inspector General without fear of reprisal.

"We will not tolerate any retaliatory actions against anyone who raises concerns," the Acting Administrator said in the letter. "Together, we can ensure that the GSA delivers on its mission."

GSA workers, or members of the public with tips, should contact 9 Wants to Know Investigative Reporter Russ Ptacek at rptacek@wusa9.com and follow @russptacek on Twitter for updates as they become available on the GSA scandal.

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