By Larry Margasak,Â The Associated Press
The main figure in aÂ General Services AdministrationÂ spending scandal took trips toÂ Hawaii,Â Napa ValleyÂ and theÂ South PacificÂ islands, all after the agency’s inspector general warned top officials about the excesses.
A timeline released by theÂ House Transportation and Infrastructure CommitteeÂ on Tuesday shows that GSA executive Jeffrey Neely took five trips totaling 44 days, including a 17-day trip to Hawaii,Â GuamÂ andÂ SaipanÂ that he and his wife planned as a birthday celebration.
All came after a May 2011 briefing byÂ Inspector General Brian MillerÂ on his preliminary findings. While Miller was still 11 months away from publicly releasing his final report on GSA spending, he issued the early warning to stop the travel. But it did no good.
For a second straight day, a House committee peppered current and former GSA officials with rapid-fire questions about the spending habits of the government’s real estate agency.
The outrage once again was bipartisan and many questions were aimed more at a culture of excess in violation of government limits, rather than the taxpayer bill of some $823,000 spent on aLas VegasÂ conference.
Miller said he’s investigating kickbacks, bribery and other matters and has already recommended criminal prosecutions to the Justice Department.
The GSA’s top official has resigned, two top aides were fired and at least 10 individuals have been placed on administrative leave.
Miller almost seemed overwhelmed by the scope of wrongdoing.
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