The Obama administration is attempting to pin some of the blame for outrageous spending by the Government Services Administration on the Bush White House, but GOP investigators in Congress say the claims are bunk.
Politico first reported on numbers provided to it by "a government source," allegedly showing costs for the GSA’s annual Western Region Conference had increased from $93,000 in 2004 to $323,855 in 2006—a 248 percent increase.
"The latest figures on the conference point to a pattern of ever-increasing spending at the GSA’s conference that spans administrations," Politico concluded.
However, the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform pushed back against those numbers in a Thursday press release.
"While the Obama Administration claimed that the 2004 conference cost only $93,000, figures from GSA indicate that the actual cost was $401,024," the committee said in the press release. "Instead of costs going up 248 percent between 2004 and 2006, as had been claimed, costs were actually reduced—from $401,024 in 2004 to $323,855 in 2006—a 19 percent decrease in cost."
When travel costs are excluded, the gap between Bush-era and Obama-era convention costs only grows. The cost of the annual conventions, excluding travel expenses, rose from $169, 387 in 2004 to $513,465 in 2010, according to numbers from the Oversight Committee.
The GSA came under intense public scrutiny after an inspector general report revealed the agency had spent more than $800,000 in taxpayer money on its 2010 conference. Costs included hiring a mind reader and a clown.
GSA administrator Martha Johnson resigned in the wake of the scandal, and several more GSA officials have been placed on administrative leave.