GSA exec fails to appear at congressional hearing

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," April 17, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: At first, GSA employee Jeff Neely was silent.


JEFF NEELY, REGIONAL COMMISSIONER, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION: Mr. Chairman, on the advice of counsel, I respectfully decline to answer based upon my Fifth Amendment constitutional privilege.


VARNEY: Today, invisible, not even showing.


REP. JOHN MICA, R-FLA.: Only way we will get to see him is on a video in the hot tub.


VARNEY: I know. You thought you had heard and seen it all, until now.

Former Nevada Democratic Congressman Dina Titus chiming in on the GSA hearings with this -- quote -- "President Obama acted swiftly to punish those responsible for this blatant misuse of tax dollars. However, these hearings are nothing more than an attack on Las Vegas. Washington Republicans should stop using Las Vegas as a punching bag to score cheap political points. They should start working on putting Americans back to work" -- end quote.

So is this about the taxpayer or a ruse to bash Las Vegas?

We turn to the Republican behind today’s hearings, Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica.

Sir, are you grandstanding at expense of Las Vegas?

REP. MICA: No, I’m just standing here in the Rotunda and I’m shocked to hear that response. If this was in my own backyard -- and I have Disney and SeaWorld and Universal all in my backyard -- and they did this in my backyard, I’d just be as outraged. This is an abuse of taxpayer dollars that’s almost unmatched.

VARNEY: Well, are you scoring political points? And by that, I mean, are you trying to link President Obama as a big government spending guy and its big government spending that got us this scandal in Las Vegas? Are you doing that?

MICA: Yes.


VARNEY: Ah. So you are scoring political points. So Dina Titus was at least half-right there, sir.

MICA: No, no, I’m not scoring political points.


MICA: But I am labeling him as a big spender. You know, what’s interesting in this is, the White House knew some months afterwards about what was taking place.

And the president didn’t express his outrage or, you know, talk about this until just a couple weeks ago. So they’ve known for months and months about what was going on, and he could have stepped in and cleaned house. But they drug this out. It sounds like they tried to sweep it under the carpet.

And actually one of our former committee staffers, Ms. Brita, Mrs. Brita, she disclosed the whole thing and she hammered away. So she’s a hero as a whistle-blower and a GSA employee. And I’m proud of her.

VARNEY: Throughout this interview, sir, you’ve had a smile on your face. I think you know that you’ve got hold of a pretty good political issue. And you’re running with it.

MICA: No. Well, that is not it at all. I try to keep a light side.

And this is a dark issue because it’s a horrible abuse of taxpayer money. And we’ve known there was, you know, a skunk in the woodpile because we’ve been trying to get this information for over a year, Mr. Denham and I, on almost every hearing, and some of whom we dragged the people into freezing, cold, empty federal buildings, where they’re wasting billions of taxpayer dollars and millions, and we haven’t been able to get the details or the information or get them from -- stop sitting on federal assets that they’re in charge of.

VARNEY: Last one real fast. Do you have any proof that it’s not just this one conference, this one agency? Do you think this is widespread? Do you?

MICA: Hey, we also -- throughout last week, the intern conference. Today, we talked about Hawaii and we talked about the South Pacific, Atlanta, and this is going on from place to place.

VARNEY: All right. Congressman John Mica, we thank you very much for joining us today, sir. Thank you.

MICA: Thank you. Good to be with you.

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