Rep. John Mica (R-FL) seemed to indicate on CNN this morning that the White House tried to cover up the the overspending scandal at the General Services Administration, but the White House says Mica is greatly overstating its knowledge of the GSA inspector general’s investigation.
“People from the White House knew about it, did nothing, kept it quiet, until just a few days ago when a statement was released by the President condemning the act,” said Mica, whose House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure committee had a hearing on the GSA scandal on Tuesday. “We think that, again, they’ve held this information.”
Mica appears to be referencing an exchange that took place during yesterday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on the GSA scandal. GSA Chief of Staff Michael Robertson said he told Kim Harris of the White House counsel’s office about the ongoing IG investigation last spring. But the White House points out that a staffer was only notified of the ongoing GSA investigation in passing. Robertson issued a statement yesterday clarifying his testimony.
“To clarify the point I made in my testimony today, I only mentioned in passing the existence of an IG investigation as I bumped into a White House staffer that I regularly worked with on GSA issues,” Robertson said in a statement, adding that the communication took place in late May or June of 2011.
A White House official told TPM that the communication was incidental and took place in the hallway after an unrelated meeting. The official said there was no specific mention of any particular conference or the details of the overspending and that the White House is notified of ongoing inspector general investigations on a regular basis.
Inspector general investigations are supposed to be independent, and interfering in the matter before the probe completed would have gone against longstanding precedent.
Mica’s appearance on Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien is embedded below.