Federal government agency slammed for catering, clowns, gift cards


We’ve heard this story before haven’t we?

The similarities are striking – catering, Vegas hotels, gift cards and even clowns. (What’s with left-wing government bureaucrats and clowns? Oh wait, my bad, it was a magician at MaineHousing)

The General Services Administration Public Buildings Service agency put together a “conference” that cost taxpayers $820,000 according to reports. When we detailed the spending of MaineHousing, we heard from the left that “conferences” were ok, and an acceptable use of taxpayer money, regardless of what happened at them (clowns, magicians, massages, whatever…).

Here in Maine, when we reported the ridiculous and wasteful spending at MaineHousing the reaction was that MHPC was on a “witch-hunt” and “politically motivated” – yet when the same thing happened on the national level, democrats and republicans alike set out to put a stop to it, and it resulted in an immediate resignation from the head of the agency. The president’s own Chief of Staff Jack Lew said the president was “outraged” when he learned about it and called for those responsible to be held “fully accountable.”

The appropriate reaction of the WhiteHouse and others differs from the reaction here in Maine to the same type of waste.

When we reported that MaineHousing gave out gift cards “In lieu of raises” and gave out $1,000 bonuses to all employees, we called them out, and said it wasn’t ok. However, we were told that we were out of line, and were attacking a good public servant.

The same practice of giving out gift cards took place at GSA – reports are saying that the “hats off” program at GSA allowed employees to accrue point and “earn” gift cards, ipods and other electronic devices (no massages?).

Also eerily similar to our experience with MaineHousing is the stonewalling that the agency participated in to keep out prying eyes. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said that the GSA stonewalled his panel as they tried to uncover what ended up being these outrageous expenses.

Lavish travel, catering, clowns, massages and gift cards seem to be the vice of choice for wasteful government bureaucrats.

If you’re ever wandering through a Vegas hotel and see a clown getting a massage, give us a call…tax dollars are likely involved.

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson is the former editor of The Maine Wire and currently the executive producer of the Kirk Minihane Show. Follow him on Twitter @BigSteve207.