GSA scandal fuels distrust of the government

In theory, the GSA is the Federal agency in charge of overseeing your government’s buildings, vehicles, and billions of dollars in contracts. They also determine how much reimbursement government employees can receive for their travel expenses. Simply put, they are intended to be gatekeepers, endowed with the public trust to ensure that the taxpayer's money is spent frugally, extracting the most value from each and every taxpayer dollar. In practice, based on the evidence collected by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee (OGR) to date, the GSA is a feudal organization - a bureaucrat fiefdom whose leadership obviously did not feel the need to apply the same mandate it was charged to hold others to its own dealings. It is very easy to become distracted by the extravagance of the $820,000 Las Vegas party tab; the opulence of taxpayer funded "location scouting" to five-star hotels; or the folly of the "Bureaucratic Don" who in a rare twist of palace intrigue, chose to evoke his fifth amendment right only to be felled by incriminating photographs on his wife's social networking website.

ADVERTISEMENT
Despite the deplorable nature of these illustrations, they are just part of the greater tapestry of complete disregard for accountability and out of control federal spending engendered by big government that must be addressed if we are ever to get this country back on track.

As House OGR Chairman Darrell Issa rightly stated, everything that has been brought to light to this point only represents "the tip of the iceberg." This hearing is about more than the irresponsible behavior of civil servants who felt that the rules did not apply to them. This hearing represents a greater referendum against a mentality that has been emanating from the highest office in government since 2009. We currently live in a country with a citizenry that distrusts their government at unprecedented levels. In my honest opinion, this animosity is fueled by average people seeing a general mentality within a particular segment of government that insists on spending money we don’t have and feels that they can manipulate the rules to their whim. It is my hope that the fundamental issues stemming from this mentality be in the forefront of everyone's minds as they watch these hearings continue to unfold.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) Chaired the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform from 1997-2002 and currently serves as a Senior Member of the Committee.