GSA Investigation: McCaskills Inquiry Uncovers More Than $1 Million in Bonuses Paid to Employees Under Investigation for Wrongdoing, Misconduct
Senator, who began investigating GSA in 2010, expands scope of her investigation, demands answers from Administration about bonuses awarded at all federal agencies
June 4, 2012
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today revealed initial findings from her investigation into the General Services Administration (GSA) showing that in just the past few years the agency has paid more than $1 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses to employees being investigated by the Inspector General for wrongdoing or misconduct. McCaskill is now expanding the scope of her investigation to examine bonuses awarded across all federal agencies.
"Missouri families who don't have the luxury of getting multiple bonuses every year would be outraged at the way this agency is spending taxpayer dollars-I know I am," said McCaskill, a former State Auditor and prosecutor who began investigating GSA in 2010. "It doesn't pass the smell test to be awarding huge bonuses in taxpayer dollars to officials who are being investigated, or have already been found responsible, for fraud and waste of those very taxpayer dollars. That's why I'm not letting up on our fight for accountability in government."
McCaskill's announcement comes after the Obama Administration disclosed in April that top agency leaders had been fired as a result of an Inspector General investigation of a GSA conference held in Las Vegas. McCaskill began investigating questionable spending practices and lack of accountability at GSA in 2010.
Today's findings from McCaskill's ongoing investigation include:
• Since 2008, GSA awarded approximately $1.1 million in bonuses to 84 individuals who were under investigation by the agency's Inspector General for wrongdoing or misconduct-through McCaskill noted that the overall number of employees who received bonuses while under investigation is likely to be far higher since information pertaining to current investigations, such as the inquiry into the Las Vegas conference, is not available.
• These 84 employees received an average of eight bonus awards each.
• The GSA has no policies to ensure that employees under investigation by the Inspector General do not receive bonuses.
• Specific examples of bonuses awarded by the GSA include a program operations officer "who was reassigned following an Inspector General investigation regarding abuse of authority [who] received an average award of $7,730 each year from 2008 through the present, for a total bonus award of $38,664" and a GS-14 level supervisor who "received more than $20,000 in bonuses... despite being reprimanded during this time period for interfering with an Inspector General investigation."
In a new letter to the Office of Personnel Management, the office that oversees compensation for federal employees, McCaskill demanded detailed information on bonuses awarded over the past several years to employees at all federal agencies. McCaskill also asked the Office of Personnel Management about policies regarding taxpayer-funded bonus awards for federal employees and how those policies could be changed to prevent such awards going to individuals under investigation for wrongdoing.
A comprehensive breakdown of bonuses awarded to GSA employees investigated for wrongdoing is available HERE.
McCaskill said that today's findings underscore the need for her Accountability in Government Act, legislation she is introducing to create stronger safeguards against waste at federal agencies and to install new measures for accountability across the federal government.
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