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At Scandal-Ridden Federal Agency, All Sorts Of Abuses

How bad are things at the General Services Administration, where the scandal over extravagant spending at a Las Vegas conference has led to resignations, firings and could end up with criminal charges for some officials?

"Every time we turned over a stone we found 50 more with all kinds of things crawling out," GSA Inspector General Brian Miller told a House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee this morning, The Associated Press reports.

According to the AP, Miller also said he has recommended criminal charges be filed against Jeff Neely, the GSA official who organized the conference. Neely, who on Monday invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in declining to testify before one House committee, did not appear at today's hearing.

As we've previously reported, Miller and his staff found that GSA spent more than $800,000 on the four-day conference in 2010. The event included a mind-reader, clowns, nearly $150,000 spent on food and beverages, and commemorative coins that cost more than $6,000.

Miller has testified this week that because of what he's found so far, he's now looking into whether some GSA officials have also been involved in kickbacks and bribes.

Among the problems that turned up as his investigation continued, Miller said, was the disappearance of 115 electronic devices that were supposed to be awarded at GSA prize ceremonies.

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Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.