Inside Politics: Mica finds GSA official spent extra night in Vegas on taxpayers’ dime

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A House Republican whose committee is investigating a lavish conference held by the General Services Administration says a high-ranking official with the embattled agency spent an extra night in Las Vegas after the conference at taxpayer expense.

The big-spending conference has resulted in a shake-up of the GSA leadership.

The latest development was reported by Rep. John L. Mica, a Florida Republican who chairs the House Transportation Committee. He said details of the additional spending were in a GSA inspector general’s report.

Mr. Mica said Tuesday night that the official billed three nights as government travel, while on the fourth he paid the government rate of $93. Mr. Mica said the extra cost of the suite, which cost more than $1,000 a night, “was apparently charged to the taxpayer.”

CONGRESS

GOP lawmaker says House Democrats are communists

A freshman Republican lawmaker says more than 75 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party.

Rep. Allen B. West of Florida made the comment at a town hall in Jensen Beach, Fla., on Tuesday. A constituent asked how many members of the legislature are “card-carrying Marxists.” Mr. West said he believes 78 to 81 House Democrats are members of the Communist Party. He provided no names.

In a statement Wednesday, Mr. West’s office said he was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The office cited a May 2010 article that appeared in the Communist Party USA pre-convention publication that referred to caucus members as allies. The article, however, carried the disclaimer that the party took no responsibility for the piece’s opinions.

The Palm Beach Post first reported the comments.

TAXES

Survey: States poorly track tax-incentive programs

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Most states are doing a poor job tracking whether their tax breaks for businesses are actually spurring job growth, including some that have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into corporate incentive programs even while grappling with record deficits, according to a new report.

The report released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States found that no state regularly takes a hard look at the effectiveness of all of its tax breaks. Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C., do little if any evaluation, including Illinois, which is among the states facing major budget struggles.

Only 13 were deemed to be doing enough, the study found.

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