While you may not remember the name of Jeffrey Neely, former General Services Administration official, you probably remember a certain infamous picture of the man. It earned him the nickname “Hot Tub Jeff.”
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) September 26, 2014
Four years after the particular conference in question actually occurred, and two years after the lavish spending of GSA conferences came to light in the media and Neely resigned from his job at the GSA, he has finally been indicted on fraud charges.
From the Department of Justice’s press release:
According to the indictment, Neely, 59, of Gardnerville, Nev., is alleged to have fraudulently sought reimbursement for personal travel and expenses – incurred in Las Vegas, Nev.; Long Beach, Calif.; Guam; and Saipan – by submitting false and fraudulent claims to the United States. The indictment further alleges that, when GSA employees questioned him about these expenses, Neely falsely represented that the costs were incurred for official government business. At the time of this conduct, Neely was the Regional Commissioner and Acting Regional Administrator for GSA’s Public Buildings Service, Pacific Rim Region, which encompasses California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii, and outlying territories.
If convicted, Neely could face up to five years in prison.
On the one hand, I want to cheer that there will finally be a little bit of accountability and legal justice meted out for such flagrant abuse of taxpayer funds.
On the other hand, the sheer amount of fraud that is inherent in the bureaucracy makes this seems small and insignificant.
Will Neely’s indictment and prosecution dissuade other bureaucrats from padding their personal expense reports? Probably not. But neither can justice stand idly by when abuse is revealed.
So, now with Neely finally under indictment, perhaps we can move along to bigger fish in the fraud pond – like people at the VA who hid lists of veterans needing appointments and still got performance bonuses, or those who overspent and underdelivered on the Obamacare websites, or the billions lost in Medicare spending.
There are enough fish in that pond to keep a federal prosecutor’s office busy for decades.
Time to get started, DOJ.