Making fun of GSA official Jeff Neely is the only thing keeping us from letting scathing rage get the better of us after finding out he not only orchestrated that $800,000 boondoggle in Vegas, but used taxpayer money on a 17-day trip to celebrate his wife's birthday. Most infuriating, is the fact that Neely was basically accountable to no one.
“It’s yo birfday. . . . We gonna pawty like iz yo birfday!” Deborah Neely wrote in an e-mail to her husband, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Post. Really, Deborah Neely, "pawty?" Neely wrote that terrible 50-Cent impression before celebrating her birthday with her husband on a 17-day, "government-related" trip to Hawaii, Guam, and the Mariana Islands. As The Washington Post notes, at this point in the investigation, it's still unclear if the GSA had paid for Ms. Neely's travel expenses on that trip.
Ms. Neely doesn't work for the government, but that didn't stop her from taking trips, having her hand in handling taxpayer money, or, as The Washington Post's Lisa Rein reports, in helping to organize that exorbitant Las Vegas conference:
Deborah Neely wasn’t always just sharing husband Jeffrey E. Neely’s hotel rooms at resorts from Las Vegas to the Pacific islands. She handled party arrangements, directed event planners to spend government money and arranged lodging for relatives on the GSA trip to Las Vegas in 2010 ...
Her role as the “first lady of Region 9” — as an investigator called her — shows a management culture in GSA’s Pacific Rim region that not only allowed the $823,000 Las Vegas gathering for 300 people and overspending on other conferences but also openly condoned perks for managers and their family members.
You're probably asking yourself how'd she get away with all of this. Well, it helps being married to one Jeff Neely, who was one of the top GSA officials in its western region, the man who helped oversee that Las Vegas disaster, and most recently, the guy who plead the Fifth on Monday during a House investigation. (He's also the guy who posed gleefully in his hotel room's tub.) As the Los Angeles Times' Ian Duncan reports, "Jeff Neely ... reported to two people: a senior counsel and himself." Which would explain how, per the Times, he was able to take five trips totaling 44 days, a $40,000 meeting in Napa Valley this past March, and give his daughter a free iPod before he was suspended.
"Every time we turned over a stone we found 50 more with all kinds of things crawling out," the inspector general tasked with investigating Neely's jetsetting lifestyle said at the hearing. We're dying to know: How many more stones are there?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.