From the Washington Post:
The agency that tracks federal travel did not report hundreds of personal and other “nonmission” trips aboard government planes for senior Justice Department officials including Attorney General Eric Holder and former FBI Director Robert Mueller, according to a watchdog report.
Congress’s nonpartisan Government Accountability Office determined that the 395 flights cost taxpayers $7.8 million. But the General Services Administration, which oversees trips aboard federal jets, did not require documentation because of a GSA reporting exemption that covers intelligence agencies, even in cases of unclassified personal travel.
The GSA exemption contradicts decades-old executive-branch requirements, specifically guidelines established by President Bill Clinton and the Office of Management and Budget, according to the report. The report said GSA “has not provided a basis for deviating from executive branch requirements.”
The findings, released Thursday, came out nearly 19 months after Republican lawmakers began questioning Holder’s use of an FBI jet for travel unrelated to Justice Department work. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, asked the GAO to look into the matter.
In its report, the non-partisan Congressional GAO reprimands the GSA, noting that “GSA regulations that allow intelligence agencies not to report unclassified data on senior federal official travel for non-mission purposes are not consistent with executive branch requirements, and GSA has not provided a basis for deviating from these requirements.” Now the GSA is promising to rectify the non-mission exemption.
But never mind all that. The gravamen of the report is that Attorney General Holder and former FBI Director Robert Mueller spent $7.8 million dollars of taxpayer money for personal travel, and haven’t reimbursed it. What does this tell us? Nothing we shouldn’t have been able to figure out before:
Holder is an ethics disaster—a terrible administrator, incompetent (terrorist trials; Fast and Furious), deceptive ( Congressional testimony about surveying journalists, misrepresentations about Fast and Furious) and political (Martin-Zimmerman; the I.R.S. cover-up). Yet I had it on good authority from people who have worked with him that he is a nice guy and personally honest.
Well, maybe he’s nice, anyway.
For going on six tears, the message from the leadership in the White House has consistently been that it’s fine for the elite to live like royalty while the riff-raff struggles, the debt grows and youth are told that they are “knuckleheads” for spending their scarce money on entertainment rather than health insurance. Not surprisingly, the message has translated into a series of outrageous abuses of the taxpayer dime, such as the infamous I.R.S. Star Trek parody video, and the GSA spending 0ver $800,000 on a Las Vegas staff fling. Deficit? What deficit? Debt? Who cares? Accountability? Responsibility? Hey, we’re in power! We deserve this!
Helping to guarantee that this arrogant and wasteful conduct by those who masquerade as public servants continues is the refusal of the media and too much of the public to treat it as the serious betrayal of trust that it is. Don’t you think that the nation’s top lawyer participating in looting 7.8 million from the Treasury is significant? Something the public should know about? A problem with wider implications? Don’t you think it’s a bit more vital than what haircuts North Korea is imposing on its starving citizens, or rumor-by-rumor bulletins about the still missing Malaysian aircraft? If so, I’m afraid that CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, and of course MSNBC (“Problems? There are no problems in the Obama government, other than Republicans…” ) don’t agree with you.
What is particularly disheartening is to read the knee-jerk, guard-dog responses of uncritical partisans when a reliably Democratic Party-supporting publication like the Washington Post breaks the bad news, which I would loosely translate as “sorry, you are backing a dog.” Like these…
So what? Another fishing expedition by the baggers? What about all of those flights around the world that travel hogs like MCain and Graham are always taking for no good reason?
On and on the GOP goes in their wild mania to lob anything petty claim against this administration…Were these FBI flights? Or were they “personal?” They can’t be both. But, as usual, the righties and I hate Obama crowd go for the jugular…combining FBI and personal into one eggroll they can digest as quickly as possible. What a bunch of tawdry, petty little bois the GOP has become….Why not just admit that the IRS investigation is protecting skankologists who are hoodwinking the public and getting tax exemptions they don’t deserve? Why not admit that shining a spotlight on Holder just to see if some petty BS claim will stick some day, any day before 2016 is all the GOP knows how to do? …When your party stoops to becoming a bunch of muckrakers of phony claims they know they can’t hope to prove in a court of law, they do what all little bois do…try to have their cake and eat it too..Yeah..like that works.
Oh how quickly Repugs forget. You don’t remember the Great Sununu using Air Force One to go to the dentist…………but of course you don’t !
What, exactly, is the “lack of ethics?” It is obviously unsafe for any Attorney General to stall around in a public airport, using commercial flights – with God-knows-who sitting next to him. Congress won’t give any cabinet member a designated plane. No law required him to “report” flights on his own Department’s plane (an FBI plane), even though none of this is secret and is revealed to any member of Congress who asks. So: no actual problem. This is a ghost issue that reveals nothing different from what was done by Alberto Gonzales and all prior Attorneys General. Absurd.
And I suppose he is the first AG to do such a horrendous act!!!!
All the rationalizations, attacks on the messenger, deflections and subject changing, rather than behaving like responsible citizens, calling unacceptable misconduct what it is, and joining critics in holding abusers of power and position accountable!
No wonder the current administration has such utter contempt for the intelligence of the American people.
Facts: BizPac, Washington Post, GAO
9 thoughts on “OK, OK, He Steals Our Money Too. But I Still Hear Eric Holder’s One Hell Of A Guy….”
This is no surprise to me. It’s been going on for decades, though this Administration flaunts its misuse of funds so flagrantly that I’m beginning to believe that there’s a real break with reality here. (The GAO reprimanding the GSA for not enforcing in-place travel regs is pretty hilarious; who reprimanded the GSA for it’s $800,000 party???) The Obama Administration’s almost-socialist stance on just about everything goes well with USSR-type “communism” — that was, “from each according to his ability and to each according to his need” with the giant exception, of course, being the leadership of the Soviet Union, the Politburo, etc., all of whom could buy Western goods, travel internationally, had dachas in the country paid for by the government, etc. (I was in Russia in 1994, and that general attitude still continued, at least then: with the exception of the government buildings one sees on TV, it’s a third-world country (or was in 1994) with undrinkable water, a broken infrastructure, etc.) Clearly, Obama’s view is very close to this. “We are special; we deserve this.” Not only a rationalization, but a scary disassociation with the Constitutional roles and responsibilities of any Presidential Administration.
A question: Big news about Michelle and the girls going to China, ESPECIALLY WHAT THEY WORE WHILE THERE (!). Who paid for THAT? I don’t expect Obama, his family, and some Cabinet members to take public transportation because it really wouldn’t be safe, but there has to be some formula by which some kind of reimbursement is made for personal travel on Air Force One (or Two, or whatever government airplane).
Maybe we poor citizens are beginning to catch on: Today’s reported poll showed 65% of Americans disappointed with Obama, especially his handling of foreign policy. Oh well, I just hope we can hold out until his term is over, and that Putin and others don’t stop laughing and take some other, decisive, dangerous actions.
I submit this quotation: “The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments.”
This is my “surprised” face. Honest.
When will we judge people by what they DO? I don’t care if they’re a ton of fun or great salesmen, or friends of POTUS, or they are better that that other guy over there or have the “correct” political philosophy. I care what they do. They are doing wrong and destructive things. They should stop it.
Well, given that a competent President would have fired Holder years ago, we shouldn’t even be at this point.
Do you think you’re getting desensitized to this kind of corruption? Would this at one time have made your head explode? I think I am… I’m just not surprised by this kind of garbage anymore. Maybe I’m just donning some cynical armor.
See Scott’s comment about his “surprised face.” I’ve known Holder was hopeless since the day he was appointed (this was the guy who approved Clinton’s Marc Rich pay-off, remember.) My head has to be surprised to explode, I’ve found.
As Scott pointed out once, it’s probably beneficial to your mental health to skip the comments sections on political articles. That goes double for articles on Huffington Post and yahoo.com, which are generally just well, smug liberals being smug liberals.
This may be a strange idea and I don’t mean any disrespect but the US could certainly benefit from having a third political party that kind of combines republican and democratic views in a healthy, moderate middle ground. I always found Republicans to be too right-wing and Democrats to be to left-wing. So from a voter point of view, the choices are pretty limited. This one-dimensional character of the elected political leadership also results in unsavoury agencies and companies being able to take an inordinate amount of advantage of the respective governments because the people who elected them are totally committed to this “He that is not with me is against me” mentality. It polarises people to such an extend that camps of both parties mutate into mortal enemies whose respective views cannot be trusted but must be condemned as an attempt to undermine one’s chosen way of life. This of course blinds one or as in most cases leads to “turning a blind eye” to the failings of their own extreme position. The rationalisations quoted above show this to be true. Instead of being upset about ones own elected leadership’s shortcomings – the other political party’s pointing finger signals an act of war and launches counter… fingers being pointed instead of trying to clear up one’s own mess.
I have followed political speeches during the presidential election time and again, be it republican or democratic, and in many case there was only one intent: to incite fear and thus an absolute stand against whatever the “enemy” is proposing. It leaves no room for thoughtful examination. It leaves no room except for one or the other.
And when one goverment is squandering tax dollars, instead of both politcal camps being outraged, it ends in a mud-slinging duel with a fight for supremacy. And in this war the crimes of your own soldiers are always less terrible than what the enemy is doing.