Senator Casey asks feds about costs of government office leases
Pennsylvania's senior senator wants to know what a federal agency that manages the government's property is doing to conserve taxpayers' money.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, sent a letter on Friday to Dan Tangherlini, head of the General Services Administration, inquiring about a report in a Tribune-Review story that the government has paid $45 million to lease the FBI Field Office on East Carson Street when it could have bought it for $20 million. The bureau is scheduled to keep paying about $3.5 million a year on the lease.
The GSA contends it has spent $32 million on the building. The Trib's figure comes from usaspending.gov records from 2002-11 and the GSA's own lease inventory reports from 2012-14.
“I urge you to take steps to ensure that federal property leasing is properly managed to eliminate waste and guarantee the most efficient use of taxpayer funded federal resources,” Casey wrote.
The GSA had no immediate response to Casey's letter. The agency acts as the property manager for most federal agencies. It brokers their leases with private owners and acts as the landlord for agencies that rent space in federally owned buildings.
The Government Accountability Office since 2003 has listed the long-term leasing of property as a practice at “high risk” for waste and corruption. GAO studies have shown the government would save billions of dollars by buying most of the buildings it is leasing.
But the agency has said the GSA has a hard time breaking the practice because it's easier for agencies to get money for lease payments than the larger amounts of money needed upfront to build or buy buildings.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Total Trib Media. Contact him at 412-325-4301 at email@example.com.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.