Las Vegas Leaders: Don’t Blame Our City For GSA Scandal

Now that we’re in the finger-pointing stage of the General Services Administration conference scandal, blame has been placed on various members of the GSA leadership (rightly), President Obama (naturally), the matrix (Neo!), Congress (maybe a little), and Sin City itself (??).

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman will not hear it, saying that she doesn’t want her fair city “scapegoat[ed] by Washington insiders who might seek to portray Lady Luck as some siren luring unsuspecting bureaucrats to their fiscal doom.” Nice, L.A. Times.

The Chamber of Commerce has also spoken out on the issue. “This city attracts nearly 5 million delegates each year and most of them really do come here to work. This isn’t about Las Vegas. It’s about judgment,” said Cara Roberts, Chamber spokesperson. Las Vegas, which has been hit hard by the recession, depends on conferences to make money. While the city promotes its reputation for adult fun, city leaders have an interest in protecting that conference business by protecting the city’s rep.

And besides that, who in the world is blaming Vegas for this hot mess of craziness?

To recap, the GSA held a conference in Las Vegas in 2010 that had a price tag of $822,000 or so. Included in that tab were conference yearbooks, commemorative coins, and other such amenities. GSA head Martha Johnson has resigned, two others have been fired, conference host Jeff Neeley (above, at the conference) is pleading the fifth before Congress, and Congressional members are now proposing legislation to put the brakes on conference spending. My high school prom committee had better sense than this crew.

Below, the scandal gets the Daily Show treatment. Definitely worth watching, ICYMI. There’s some truly terrible quoting of 50 Cent from a Washington suit involved.