The federal agency that's under fire for an expensive Las Vegas conference gathering is moving to rein in other spending on the taxpayer dime, shuttering a worker rewards program that handed out electronic gear like Ipods and digital cameras to employees at the General Services Administration.
"Operations have been suspended pending a continuing top down review of all spending," said Acting GSA chief Dan Tangherlini in a video message to GSA employees, where he left no doubt where GSA officials stand on the over $800,000 spent on a 2010 conference in Nevada.
"What took place was completely unacceptable," said Tangherlini, who raised the specter of additional action being taken against certain officials and GSA employees.
"There were violations of travels rules, acquisition rules and good conduct," he added.
You can watch Tangherlini's message below, which includes some no holds-barred language.
"We are shocked and deeply disappointed by these indefensible actions," he said in the video.
Meanwhile, the Congress moved on several fronts to set up hearings next week on the GSA affair, which is quickly growing into a political issue for Republicans, who maintain the federal government is too big for its own good.
“There must be accountability for the Vegas vacations, free iPods, and this blatant abuse of taxpayer dollars," said House Transportation Committee Chairman Rep. John Mica (R-FL).
One of Mica's subcommittees will hold a hearing next Tuesday on the GSA situation, a day after the House Oversight Committee opens its own review.
“More and more information is coming out about the total lack of accountability and outrageous spending habits of the General Services Administration,” said Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), who will lead the Tuesday hearing.
The former head of the GSA, Martha Johnson, has been invited to hearings both on Monday and Tuesday; it's not clear if she and other officials who have been forced out or put on leave will actually show up for testimony.
Johnson did not attend the Vegas conference that has caused so much controversy - she was supposed to be there - but instead went to the West Coast for other meetings.