Taxpayers Footed Travel Bill for GSA Honcho's Wife

Deborah Neely was apparently very good at spending government money
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2012 7:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – Tales of the General Services Administration's lavish overspending just keep coming. The latest? Turns out Deborah Neely, wife of GSA boss Jeff Neely (the guy who pleaded the Fifth at a House hearing Monday) came along on some of his "work" trips—at taxpayers' expense. Of course, she "worked" on those trips too, the Washington Post reports ... if by working, you mean spending government money to plan cocktail parties, arranging government lodging rates for other GSA employees' relatives, and attempting to get other perks for GSA employees like "private label chapstick." "Mr. Neely and his wife believe they were some sort of agency royalty who used taxpayer funds to bankroll their lavish lifestyle," Rep. Elijah Cummings said earlier this week.

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Deborah Neely was along during the now-infamous Las Vegas trip that kicked off the scandal, but she also accompanied her husband on a 17-day trip to Hawaii, Guam, and the Mariana Islands (it's not clear if the GSA paid her way on that trip). Beforehand, she wrote in an email to Jeff of the trip, "It’s yo birfday. … We gonna pawty like iz yo birfday!" That trip—as well as four others Jeff Neely took, for a total of 44 days—occurred after the inspector general had already warned top officials to stop the trips, the AP reports. The excessive travel isn't the end of the story: Brian Miller is also investigating kickbacks and bribery, and has recommended criminal prosecutions. Thirteen GSA leaders and managers have now been fired, placed on leave, or have resigned. For more of the details coming out, see the AP and the Post. (Read more Deborah Neely stories.)

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