Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, has a direct tie to Jeff Neely, the embattled General Services Administration official at the center of a scandal over a lavish Las Vegas conference.
Neely appeared in a campaign ad for Hawaii Senior Senator in 2010.
Neely was reprimanded in 2011 by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, because the appearance in the ad was in violation of the HATCH Act, but he received just a warning, according to a report in Roll Call.
In the ad, Neely was featured at the groundbreaking ceremony of the $212 million renovation of the Hawaii Federal Building and Courthouse, which took place in June 2010.
The project to make the Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Federal Building and Courthouse “green” was part of the 2009 economic stimulus package.
Inouye said at the event: “The man who provided the leadership, and the guidance, and the touch was Jeff Neely. If it weren’t for him, if it weren’t for his leadership, we would not be here this morning to inaugurate the beginning of this process. On behalf of all of you and behalf of the people of Hawaii, Mr. Neely, we thank you very much.”
That advertisement is now garnering national attention because Congress is scrutinizing Neely and his cohorts at the GSA for their behavior and spending.
This after an April 2 report the said GSA officials spent more than $800,000 on a conference in Las Vegas in October 2010, which featured lavish amenities and curious entertainment.
As a result of the Congressional inquiry, 13 GSA employees have either resigned, been fired or have been placed on administrative leave in recent weeks.
Peter Boylan, Inouye’s spokesperson, said prior to the recent press reports, Senator Inouye and his staff were unaware of the disappointing allegations that Jeff Neely and his staff wasted and misused taxpayer funds.
Neither Senator Inouye nor his staff knew Mr. Neely in anything other than a professional capacity, Boylan said, adding that Senator Inouye and his staff worked with the GSA Region 9 office only on issues relevant to GSA’s mission.