Dems Win Jackass Award for Waste

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is a political committee devoted to maintaining and increasing the 239-member Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Just when you thought the scandal over wasteful spending at Obama’s General Services Administration (GSA) couldn’t get any worse, new reports indicate that the Obama agency created fake, “jackass awards” in order to hold taxpayer-funded dinners at its now-infamously lavish conferences:

“GSA MADE UP ‘JACKASS AWARD’ TO JUSTIFY DINNERS”: “Officials at the General Services Administration invented fake awards as an excuse to hold taxpayer-funded dinner events at conferences, according to an interview transcript obtained by Roll Call.” (Jonathan Strong, “GSA Made Up ‘Jackass Award’ to Justify Dinners,” Roll Call, 4/12/2012)

AWARD CEREMONIES WERE “A RUNNING JOKE,” GSA EMPLOYEE SAYS: “Describing the award ceremonies, as a “running joke,” the employee said, supervisors explained that the fake awards were designed to justify dinner events at the conferences.

“‘He says: ‘OK, everybody, just remember, the only way we can have food is if we have an awards ceremony.’ Maybe not in those exact words, but fairly similar,’ the employee said.” (Jonathan Strong, “GSA Made Up ‘Jackass Award’ to Justify Dinners,” Roll Call, 4/12/2012)

“THE JACKASS AWARD GOT EVERYBODY FOOD”:

“GSA employee: Well, I just remember one year like someone got like the jackass award or something for doing something stupid.

“OIG: The jackass award got everybody food.

“GSA employee: Oh, yeah.” (Jonathan Strong, “GSA Made Up ‘Jackass Award’ to Justify Dinners,” Roll Call, 4/12/2012)

GSA ALREADY UNDER MAJOR SCRUTINY FOR VIOLATING “SCORES OF RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING SPENDING” TAX DOLLARS: “GSA is under fire because the inspector general revealed in an April 2 report that the agency spent almost $823,000 on an October 2010 Las Vegas conference for about 300 people. The inspector general also said officials violated scores of rules and regulations governing spending of taxpayer dollars.” (Jonathan Strong, “GSA Made Up ‘Jackass Award’ to Justify Dinners,” Roll Call, 4/12/2012)

GSA SPENT $330,000 FOR RELOCATION ON A SINGLE EMPLOYEE, “LIKELY ‘MILLIONS’ ON OTHERS OVER A TWO YEAR PERIOD”: (Dana Bash, “Employee Says GSA Spent ‘Millions’ on Relocation,” CNN, 4/12/2012)

This revelation comes after news that the recently resigned GSA administrator had planned to visit now-bankrupt Solyndra but cancelled her visit after the Obama administration received news that Solyndra would be announcing layoffs—an announcement that the Obama administration pressured Solyndra to delay until after the 2010 midterm elections:

FORMER GSA CHIEF MARTHA JOHNSON HAD PLANNED TRIP TO SOLYNDRA, BUT CANCELLED 48 HOURS BEFORE VISIT: (U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee, Accessed 4/12/2012)

JOHNSON CANCELLED HER TRIP BECAUSE WHITE HOUSE RECEIVED WORD THAT STIMULUS POSTER-CHILD SOLYNDRA WOULD BE ANNOUNCING LAYOFFS: (U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee, Accessed 4/12/2012)

WHITE HOUSE KNEW IN LATE OCTOBER 2010 THAT SOLYNDRA WOULD BE LAYING OFF 20 PERCENT OF WORKFORCE: “Senior White House officials knew in late October 2010 that government-backed Solyndra was planning to lay off nearly 20 percent of its workforce just prior to the congressional elections the next month, recently released e-mails show.” (Daniel Goldstein, “White House Knew of Solyndra Layoff Plans,” ABC 7—KGO TV, 1/18/2012)

SOLYNDRA INITIALLY PLANNED LAYOFFS FOR OCT. 28, 2010: “In November, e-mails showed that Solyndra's then-CEO Brian Harrison himself first warned the department on Oct. 25, 2010, that he planned to lay off employees and contractors and would shut down the original Solyndra factory on Oct. 28, three days later.” (Daniel Goldstein, “White House Knew of Solyndra Layoff Plans,” ABC 7—KGO TV, 1/18/2012)

OBAMA’S DOE PRESSURED SOLYNDRA TO DELAY LAYOFFS UNTIL DAY AFTER THE ELECTION: “The Department of Energy, however, pressured the company to hold off until after the Nov. 2 election, according to e-mails from Solyndra's biggest investor, Argonaut Private Equity.

“Solyndra later delayed its layoffs until one day after the elections.” (Daniel Goldstein, “White House Knew of Solyndra Layoff Plans,” ABC 7—KGO TV, 1/18/2012)

Solyndra occupies its own spot in the hall of shame for wasteful spending. Various reports have chronicled Solyndra’s investments in “Disney-singing robots” and spas while the company was still operating, not to mention its decision to junk millions of dollars of assets after the company went bankrupt:

“SOLYNDRA FACTORY HAD DISNEY-SINGING ROBOTS, SPAS”: “Former employees told the San Francisco Chronicle that the $733 million, 300,000-square-foot factory built in 2009 had spa-like showers, robots that whistled Disney tunes and glass-walled conference rooms.” (Sajid Farooq, “Solyndra Factory Had Disney-Singing Robots, Spas,” NBC Bay Area, 9/29/2011)

SOLYNDRA FACTORY WAS COMPARED TO “THE TAJ MAHAL” BY STAFF: “ ‘The new building is like the Taj Mahal,’ John Pierce, a facilities manager at Solyndra, told the paper.” (Sajid Farooq, “Solyndra Factory Had Disney-Singing Robots, Spas,” NBC Bay Area, 9/29/2011)

SOLYNDRA CAUGHT ON TAPE DESTROYING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF ASSETS AFTER BANKRUPTCY: “After filing for bankruptcy last year, Fremont solar company Solyndra still owes American taxpayers half a billion dollars. But CBS 5 caught them destroying millions of dollars worth of parts. At Solyndra’s sprawling complex in Fremont, workers in white jumpsuits were unwrapping brand new glass tubes used in solar panels last week. They are the latest, most cutting-edge solar technology, and they are being thrown into dumpsters.” (“Bankrupt Solyndra Caught Destroying Brand New Parts,” CBS San Francisco, 1/19/2012)

OBAMA’S DOE “TURNED A BLIND EYE TO THE RISKS THAT HAVE BEEN GLARINGLY APPARENT,” LENT $14.5 BILLION OVER 27 PROJECTS: “By the expiration of § 1705 program in September 2011, the DOE had approved 27 projects totaling more than $14.5 billion in guaranteed loans. Inexplicably, DOE management has turned a blind eye to the risks that have been glaringly apparent since the inception of the program.” (“The Department of Energy’s Disastrous Management of Loan Guarantee Program,” U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 3/20/2012)

DESPITE A RECORD OF FAILURE: “REPORT: ENERGY LOANS COULD COST $3B” FROM “HIGH-RISK” GREEN PROGRAMS: (“Report: Energy Loans Could Cost $3B,” Associated Press, 2/10/2012)

CRONY CAPITALISM? WASHINGTON POST AUDIT FINDS $3.9 BILLION IN TAXPAYER MONEY WENT TO “21 COMPANIES WITH CONNECTIONS TO FIVE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION STAFFERS AND ADVISERS”: “During the next three years, the department provided $2.4 billion in public funding to clean-energy companies in which Wagle’s former firm, Vantage Point Venture Partners, had invested, a Washington Post analysis found. Overall, the Post found that $3.9 billion in federal grants and financing flowed to 21 companies backed by firms with connections to five Obama administration staffers and advisers.” (Carol Leonnig and Joe Stephens, “Venture Capitalists Play Key Role in Obama’s Energy Department,” The Washington Post, 2/14/2012)

 

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