Washington – General Services Administration officials created a "Jackass" award as an excuse to hold ceremonies that included taxpayer-funded dinners during Las Vegas conventions, according to transcripts from an Inspector General’s report.
In the transcript obtained by Fox News, an agency employee tells an Inspector General investigator the practice of creating the Jackass award and more legitimate ones, like length-of service honors, occurred for years to get the dinners.
The employee told the inspector a coworker essentially said: “OK, everybody, just remember the only way we can have food is if we have an awards ceremony.”
The spending of $830,000 on the GSA’s lavish 2010 Western Region Conference came to light earlier this month when agency’s Inspector General released the report, which also uncovered videos made by employees boasting and lampooning the spending. Several employees have lost their job over the report, and the head of the agency, Martha Johnson, resigned.
When the investigator asked for specifics on the so-called "Jackass" awards, the GSA employee said it was for doing something “stupid” or “goofy.”
However, the employee was more clear on whether giving such awards would result in a meal.
“Oh yeah,” the employee told the inspector.
Also revealed Thursday, the regional office that hosted 2010 Las Vegas event was also responsible for putting on a week-long conference for agency interns at a luxurious Palm Springs resort, according to House GOP lawmakers.
They provided information from the GSA Inspector General and interviews with agency employees who divulged there was a May 2010 intern conference at the Palm Springs Riviera Resort and Spa in California that included roughly 120 interns and 20 officials.
“GSA has been spreading the taxpayers’ wealth, providing luxurious junkets not only for high-level executives but for its interns as well,” said Rep. John L. Mica. R-Fla., and chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The committee, along with the GOP-controlled House oversight committee, is scheduled to begin hearings next week on the agency and its questionable spending.
The Palm Springs event also included “finger food” that an employee interviewed by an Inspector General investigator estimated cost about $100 a person and included prime rib and oysters.