WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Maine, expressed their anger Thursday about new instances of waste and abuse by the General Services Administration.

The Senators also released a redacted copy of the letter Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini sent in response to a series of questions the Senators posed on May 10, 2012.

Lieberman said: “At a time when Congress must make the toughest budget choices we have ever made, I am sickened to hear more stories about the reckless disregard GSA shows for taxpayer dollars.

“Given the news about $20,000 spent on cooking classes and nearly $270,000 spent on an award ceremony, it is clear the Las Vegas conference scandal was not an isolated instance, but the canary in the coal mine.  Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini’s top-to-bottom review of the entire agency is essential as are additional Inspector General investigations.

“Based on the information in Mr. Tangherlini’s letter responding to a series of questions,  GSA’s contracting functions clearly need to be examined closely. GSA employees, for example, who are authorized to spend taxpayer money on contracts aren’t always qualified or trained to spend money wisely.  And given documentation from the Inspector General on abuse of government charge cards, I’m concerned that GSA is not taking appropriate disciplinary actions against those who use charge cards for their personal use.  Unless GSA gets its own house in order, it will be hobbled in its mission to help the entire government run more efficiently.”

Collins said: “The outrages and examples of excessive spending and waste of taxpayer dollars by GSA continue.  Now we see reports of a one-day performance award ceremony held in Washington D.C. in November 2010 costing $268,732.  This is simply unacceptable.  This event, along with reports of $20,000 spent on cooking classes for teambuilding exercises for GSA employees in Kansas City, Missouri, indicate there has been a culture of excessive spending and waste of taxpayer money.  I appreciate that Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini has called for the  IG to investigate and hope he addresses what is clearly a culture problem at GSA.”