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POLITICS: PennAve

GSA parody videos released by watchdog group

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Beltway Confidential,Judicial Watch,Conference Spending,PennAve,Sean Lengell,GSA

A conservative watchdog group released more than a half-dozen movie parody and comedy skit videos Tuesday that were removed from the General Services Administration website last year after a scathing inspector general report revealed the agency overspent taxpayer money on a lavish Las Vegas conference.

Judicial Watch used the federal Freedom of Information Act to obtain the videos, which include costumed GSA employees in parody movies scenes from "Rocky," "The Godfather," and "Mission Impossible."

In the parody of "Rocky," senior GSA officials lead employees on an extended jog through the corridors of the agency's New York office and the streets of Manhattan, with the movie's theme music playing. In another video, officials and employees participate in an elaborate "Jeopardy" game show parody, complete with theme music, light-up board and canned audience applause.

The group says it was tipped off about the videos from GSA whistle blower Linda Shenwick.

"This latest round of extravagant and embarrassing GSA videos is further evidence of a bloated federal government completely out of control," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "Clearly the new administrator [Daniel Tangherlini] will have his work cut out for him if this pattern of preposterous waste is to be curtailed."

The GSA was rocked last year after an inspector general report showed "gross misuse of taxpayer dollars." The probe highlighted an $800,000-plus training conference for 300 GSA employees in Las Vegas in 2010 that featured a mind reader, bicycle giveaways and lavish after-hour receptions.

Then-GSA Administrator Martha Johnson fired two deputies and suspended other career employees over the incident, but the report said she ignored the inspector general's warnings about a pattern of excessive waste, fraud and abuse by one of her top executives. Johnson resigned soon after the scandal broke, and President Obama brought in Tangherlini as acting administrator.

Obama tabbed him in May to be the agency's permanent leader, and the Senate early approved his confirmation last week.

The GSA was unavailable for comment late Tuesday, and the cost of the videos, or their exact publication date, could not immediately be determined.

The release of the GSA videos comes weeks after it was discovered the Internal Revenue Service-- embattled in its own scandal over targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny -- produced two videos parodying the "Star Trek" and "Gilligan's Island" TV shows, and another featuring employees line dancing on a stage.

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Author:

Sean Lengell

Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner