Clown scandal officials spun through the revolving dooron April 8th, 2012 at 8:00 am
There were many head-scratching aspects about the inspector general’s report issued this week about a lavish General Services Administration conference in Las Vegas back in 2010 – things like, why would you hire a clown comedian at all, or spend $6,235 on commemorative coins for a conference of government bureaucrats? But mostly, there is outrage that of all the agencies, the GSA, which is supposed to be the voice of good management and sane spending practices, would get so out of control.
Especially under the stewardship of (now) former GSA administrator Martha Johnson, who has a long history of working as a senior GSA official and a top human resources executive in the corporate world.
Johnson has been around Washington for a long time, and as is characteristic of many top agency officials, she has jumped from the private to public sectors, and back again, which has earned her a profile on OpenSecrets.org’s revolving door tool. She’s joined by Robert A. Peck, one of Johnson’s deputies, who until he was forced out by the scandal headed the Public Building Service, and according to his profile has bounced between private and public employers.
Before she took over the GSA, Johnson worked for two private firms, Computer Sciences Corporation (an IT firm with GSA contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars), where she was the vice-president of “culture,” and before that, a consulting firm called SRA International.
Coincidentally or not, SRA International lists 2010 — Johnson’s first full year as GSA’s administrator — as the first year it lobbied the agency. Computer Sciences Corporation has been paid over $282 million by the GSA since Johnson took over, but that’s less than the company got in the three years before she took charge, according to USASpending.gov.
Peck spent six years running the Public Building Service in the 1990s, and then three years with the Staubach Company – a real estate firm now known as Jones Lang Lasalle that has earned about $10.9 million in deals with the GSA since Peck went there in 2009.
Johnson’s replacement, Dan Tangherlini, who was appointed acting administrator of the GSA on Monday, has no revolving door profile as he began his career with the federal government in 1991 and has not gone to the private sector since.