What Was The White House Role in GSA Investigation?
Chris Stirewalt and Fred Barnes discuss the GSA scandal
- Duration 7:22
- Date Apr 17, 2012
Chris Stirewalt and Fred Barnes discuss the GSA scandal
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After being -- becoming aware the the existence of the investigation.
I mentioned it to White House staffer that I worked with on a regular basis.
Among you know -- other things that I am communicated to them about what was going on -- -- And that unhappy person was.
General Services Administration chief of staff.
Michael Roberts and finally telling.
House government oversight committee chairman Darrell ice a Republican from California.
That it's been about a year since he told fairly high level staffer inside the White House about concerns about a massive lavish awards party and get together that the GSA had for some 820000.
Dollars for the Las Vegas resort.
And this is power -- welcome back -- back to Fred Barnes.
You're still you're -- -- -- -- to -- with this I'm still happy to be okay as anybody it's if it's it's an -- position he's not jumping into anything.
But let us now talked to congressman Blake Bayern goal from the great state of Texas.
Who sits on that committee that did the grilling yesterday that had the -- -- he fired up for these GSA employees.
My pleasure to be here.
Okay so you guys report.
But these important GSA folks yesterday.
I am pretty rough on the taxpayers.
Be asked those -- you could put it that way.
So give us the quick for four of us layman out here what was the take away from what -- said yesterday.
Well I think the big take away was it takes way too long for us to deal with -- problems like this and we need to be real careful we're not developing a culture within our government that it's okay to spend the taxpayers' money like this.
Now the Democrats.
It took this backseat to no one when it came to bang away on these guys.
And your democratic counterparts on the committee.
We're -- skating in their criticism of the folks who were involved in this.
And now how their argument of course is that.
These are individual bad actors particularly this one guy who organizes conferences rogue element inside the government.
Do you buy that or how much of a culture of waste do you think exists inside GSA.
Well I hope my Democrat colleagues are right in this is an ally -- to cancer to be excited and not a systemic problem within our government.
But you take a look at what happened and also this week with the Secret Service agents end in Colombia and you're beginning to think what the heck is going on our people are not stepping back in thinking.
Does this even make common sense that we're doing this is this the right thing to do.
Really part of leading -- part of being in government is thinking is this right not just following the rules it's the spirit of the law not just the letter of the law.
Now congressman should we take it is a coincidence.
These hearings have before going on tax day.
Next week this year -- as the red team trying to remind the American taxpayers about waste and fraud is they're sending in their checks to -- the bed.
-- it it's perfect timing as far as messaging goes.
But I'm really concerned that it took almost a year for this to get out as we heard in the testimony it was reported to the White House a year ago that there was a problem.
Nothing was done about it the end and even now.
-- leave the guy in charge for the GSA is on.
Paid leave we're paying him -- still on vacation.
Well -- now he's getting paid and does not have to work.
Credit cards -- -- questions for the congressman Issa congressman used when I wonder are there are some.
Some legislation that might follow here that you could instruct.
Federal bureaucrats who already get paid more than people in the private sector and they -- glass and they get better pensions.
You can instruct them a little on things like.
You should not be going on retreats paid for by the taxpayer aren't there some things that you -- can outlaw.
Well I think we're gonna try to claw back some of the money that was illegally -- there.
And I think really a big.
They need to be thinking -- wait a minute I don't wanna be the next the villain in the news I'm gonna behave myself and I'm gonna think twice before I spin.
Hardworking American taxpayers' money I mean this is money.
If people have two jobs to.
Make ends meet.
Everybody pay taxes yesterday they know how hard it is and the government employees need to realize.
This is not their money to spin and they need to treated better than their money because its other people's money that has been entrusted to them to spend wisely.
It's usually do you think criminal activity was involved -- by GSA employees.
I think we're pretty close to having some criminal activity.
And the inspector general also indicated that they've got other investigations -- for clearly.
Illegal activities like kickbacks so we're gonna continue to look at the GSA and all government agencies.
The oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a letter out to all agency is asking for financial records Rivera travel in retreat so.
We're gonna see if this is limited in the GSA -- -- it's a government wide program and if it is cover a wide problem we're gonna stop it.
Congressman Blake fan -- he loves Texas he loves America we love having -- thanks for being with us thank you.
And Fred we should point out and in the scope.
A government agencies GSA is strictly small -- about 121000 employees.
Compare that to 6465000.
In the department of health.
You get an idea of where there could be some other interest staying at a lot of items look at it indeed it's -- and in a number of employees is big in the amount of money expense that's true -- -- get there -- per capita is very very high.
Essentially missed out on the first part I wanna I wanna -- put the question back to you that I -- I gave at -- outset which is.
What is going to be more effective argument with middle income Americans those folks in the 5060000 dollar range to get to decide this election.
For them easy should it be that the Republican argument that the harder money they -- that we heard from congressman -- -- wasted.
Is it through the democratic argument that somebody like Mitt Romney's only paying taxes at a rate about five times higher than them instead of -- rate of ten times -- You know the public is pretty Smart and they know what -- when they see one.
This and other guys -- Buffett rule.
The so Obama and any hopes that others involved in the campaign won't talk about his record.
And and there's only one question that I think Republicans ought to ask him and build the whenever that's offered -- you know that's what Romney did was he.
Don't put money overseas at a Buffett rule should mean that of the wealthy 1% should pay more taxes the question is for words where -- jobs.
And we know I mean that's the problem of people that there's a problem when the real issue in the campaign is the the economy jobs.
And the deficit.
But -- the buffet rule does nothing for any of us it's entirely some fanciful idea that the wealthy well who or do you pay a disproportionate amount of income taxes are paying enough.
All right consider yourself lucky.
Are considered a lucky David Mercer that you won't get Fred Barnes got caught in traffic is -- gotten big -- full of that.
I've read parts we thank you for being with us that day here's how we --