A government agency with a reputation for financial irresponsibility doesn't appear to have paid $13 million in bonuses to its employees last year, as was previously reported.
It seems like the actual number is more like $44 million.
Details are still emerging, but it appears that the General Services Administration, a government agency that drew fire earlier this year for spending $823,000 on a lavish conference in Las Vegas, was even more generous to its employees in fiscal 2011 than was previously believed. In May, a New Jersey newspaper reported that the GSA paid $13 million in bonuses to its employees between October 2010 and September 11, according to WUSA-TV, a Washington, D.C. television station.
In fact, WUSA now says, the agency paid almost $44 million in bonuses during that time.
According to WUSA, the $13 million figure was first reported by the Asbury Park Press, which submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. WUSA says that it, too, submitted a FOIA request for the agency's payroll data, and that it found an additional $30 million in bonuses in the GSA's records on top of the original $13 million figure.
A spokesperson for the GSA told the Huffington Post that it has been consistent in reporting its payroll data, and that it had not withheld any information from the Office of Personnel Management. The spokesperson told HuffPost that the $13 million figure given to the Asbury Park Press by the OPM did not come from the GSA.
The WUSA article asserts that "the troubled agency" -- presumably the GSA -- had originally "reported less than a third of its bonus pay." The GSA spokesperson told HuffPost that this was "inaccurate."
The General Services Administration became a magnet for controversy in April, when details emerged of its Western Regions Conference held in Las Vegas in October 2010. At that event, employees enjoyed expensive meals, extravagant hotel accommodations, a talent show and a $3,200 mind reader, among other perks all on the taxpayers' dime. The scandal led to the departure of several top GSA staffers.
In April, Darrell Issa, a Republican from California who chairs the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform, denounced what he called the Obama administration's failure to check "gross waste" and "a culture of lavish excess" at the GSA.
At a Congressional hearing this Wednesday, Representatives Jeff Denham, a Republican from Texas, and John Mica, a Republican from Florida, mentioned the bonuses of more than $40 million, and asked GSA officials to justify what their agency has spent on conferences and overtime pay.
The GSA's inspector general is now examining another 77 conferences that the agency reportedly held between October 2010 and April 2012, at a total cost of more than $6.7 million, according to The Washington Post.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post stated that the General Services Administration reported its bonus information to the Asbury Park Press after that newspaper submitted a Freedom of Information Act request. In fact, the Asbury Park Press submitted its FOIA request to the Office of Personnel Management, which provided the information about GSA's bonuses. HuffPost regrets the error.