GSA Administrator Johnson resigns
April 2nd, 2012
06:07 PM ET

GSA Administrator Johnson resigns

The head of the General Services Administration resigned Monday after a scathing report which called government spending on a training seminar in Las Vegas "excessive, wasteful, and in some cases impermissible." In some election-year damage control, the White House quickly put out a statement that President Obama was “outraged” when he found out about the spending.

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson admitted in a letter of resignation that her agency had made a "significant mis-step" and that "taxpayer dollars were squandered."

A GSA Inspector General's report on the 2010 GSA "Western Regions" training conference in Las Vegas shows that the government spent more than $822,000 for the 300 attendees including $75,000 on team building exercises, $6000 on commemorative coins and $6,000 on canteens, keychains, t-shirts.

President Obama who was informed about the report last week before his South Korean trip and administration officials say he acted quickly. "[H]e was outraged by the excessive spending, questionable dealings with contractors, and disregard for taxpayer dollars." White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew said in a statement Monday.

"[H]e was outraged by the excessive spending, questionable dealings with contractors, and disregard for taxpayer dollars," White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew said in a statement..

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Topics: Fraud & Waste • White House
Treasury to stop producing unneeded dollar coins
December 13th, 2011
01:00 PM ET

Treasury to stop producing unneeded dollar coins

Vice President Joe Biden and several cabinet secretaries announced today the administration's efforts to identify and eliminate misspent tax dollars. My favorite – the savings of $50 million annually by no longer minting unneeded and unwanted dollar coins. Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin says they currently have a decade worth of excess coins on the shelves! From the White House release:

The Vice President and Secretary Geithner announced the Administration’s plan to stop the wasteful production of $1 coins for circulation. In 2005, Congress enacted the Presidential $1 Coin Act, which mandated that the United States Mint issue new Presidential $1 Coins with the likeness of every deceased President. But more than 40 percent of the $1 coins that the United States Mint has issued have been returned to the Federal Reserve, because nobody wants to use them.

As a result, nearly 1.4 billion excess dollar coins are already sitting unused in Federal Reserve Bank vaults – enough to meet demand for more than a decade. But until today, the Mint was on pace to produce an additional 1.6 billion dollar coins through 2016.

To put a stop to this waste the Administration will halt the production of Presidential $1 Coins for circulation. The Administration will still be required, by law, to continue to produce a relatively small number of the coins to be sold to collectors, at no cost to taxpayers. Instead of producing 70-80 million coins per President, the United States Mint will now only produce as many as collectors want. Regular circulating demand for $1 coins will be met through the Federal Reserve Banks' existing inventory, which will be drawn down over time. Overall, this step will save at least $50 million annually over the next several years.

“At the Treasury Department, we’re continuing to work hard in support of President Obama and Vice President Biden’s efforts to cut waste and streamline government,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “Putting a stop to the minting of surplus $1 coins represents a significant opportunity to reduce costs and improve efficiency. In these tough times, Americans are making every dollar count, and they deserve the same from their government. We simply shouldn’t be wasting taxpayer money on money that taxpayers aren’t using.”