WASHINGTON (WUSA)-- A new report identifies, in addition to GSA bonuses already identified by a 9 Wants to Know investigation, hundreds of thousands of dollars in new payouts going to GSA officials suspected of wrongdoing.
"It doesn't pass the smell test to be awarding huge bonuses," said US Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) who began investigating GSA in 2010. "That's why I'm not letting up on our fight for accountability in government."
McCaskill began her review after my investigation while a reporter at KSHB-TV into the Kansas City regional GSA headquarters, which uncovered a list of workers colleagues believe died because of toxins at the building, official mismanagement, inspector general findings or wrongdoing and more bonuses.
The latest report, from the Kansas City Star, indicates the five payouts exposed by our WUSA9 investigation may be symptomatic of a much larger trend, year-after year, of paying out performance bonuses to GSA workers while they were under investigation for misconduct.
"There is an outrageous cycle of waste, fraud and abuse at GSA that is too likely to continue," said House GSA Oversight Committee Chairman Jeff Denham (R-Ca.). " We need major reform in the way our government does business to restore accountability to our taxpayers."
In April, Denham was the first Congressional leader to examine documents obtained by WUSA9 showing a trend of GSA officials awarding bonuses to officials while suspected of poor conduct.
"We need to not only figure out how deep this culture of waste and fraud goes, but we need to put a stop to it altogether," Denham said.
Documents 9 Wants to Know obtained under the Freedom of Information Act indicate the GSA paid out over a half-million dollars in fiscal year 2012 bonus money to dozens of its high ranking executives, including five directly linked to the Vegas conference.
The bonuses, about $10,000 a piece, included pay outs to the executives GSA sources say were placed on leave in connection to that nearly $823,000 Las Vegas conference including a payout to Jeffrey Neely, now infamous for that bathtub photo, and pictures of the 2400 square foot hotel suites at the convention he organized.
The bonuses WUSA9 uncovered were paid out after the Office of Inspector General warned the agency about the lavish Vegas spending.
The Kansas City Star has obtained a Senate analysis identifying $1 million in bonuses since 2008 going to officials suspected of wrong doing.
The report, published Sunday by the Star, identified bonuses going to 84 employees under investigation receiving as much $40,000 a piece over five years.
"As previously stated, GSA is conducting a top-down review of our agency's operations," said GSA spokesman Adam Elkington. "This comprehensive review of our agency operations includes all bonus pay outs in recent years -- especially for those individuals under investigation by GSA's Inspector General."
The Kansas City Star numbers don't include the bonuses our Freedom Of Information Act uncovered last week of payouts to the officials linked to the Las Vegas scandal.
For first alerts on our continuing investigation into the GSA, follow Investigative Reporter Russ Ptacek at Twitter.com/russptacek or Facebook.com/russptacek.
If you have tips about the GSA or other government waste, email 9 Wants to Know at firstname.lastname@example.org.