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Dem Rep. Cummings vows GSA officials will be 'made to pay back' taxpayers

Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.) said Tuesday that he would push to see that taxpayers are paid back by those responsible for the lavish overspending by General Services Administration officials at a Las Vegas conference.

“They will be brought to justice and be made to pay back the money that they owe the taxpayers,” said Cummings during an interview on MSNBC. 

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The Maryland lawmaker is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, which held a hearing Monday on the overspending. 

A GSA inspector general report detailed almost $823,000 in taxpayer funds spent on the conference, which included $146,527 for catered food, $6,325 for commemorative coins and $75,000 for a team-building exercise.

The report has sparked outrage from Democratic and Republican lawmakers, but Cummings sought to deflect GOP attempts to pin the scandal on lax oversight from the Obama administration.

Describing the situation at the GSA as a “mess,” Cummings emphasized that “a Democratic appointee is the one who was a whistleblower with regard to all of this.” 

Cummings also praised President Obama for his handling of the situation. “It’s a good thing that the President has now appointed an interim [GSA Administrator] Mr. [Dan] Tangherlini, to clean up this mess, because it’s truly a mess,” he said.