GSA Breaks Law: Skips Congressional Approval on $351M 20-YR Lease at One World Trade Center

The General Services Administration (GSA) has authority to lease properties, without Congressional approval beginning at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, up to $2.66M. But this cheeky group, which has misused taxpayer monies for decades has now entered into a 20-year lease for $351M in One World Trade Center. This is not a small thing. GSA has broken federal law.

One World Trade Center

It should be against the law to break the law. Unfortunately, it is not. In early 21st-century America, a dirty little secret still exists among public officials, politicians, judges, prosecutors, and the police. The government – federal, state, and local – is not bound to obey its own laws. I know this sounds crazy, but too many cases prove it true. It should be a matter of grave concern for every American who prizes personal liberty. ~ Judge Andrew Napolitano

Appallingly, past presidents and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have argued that statute’s authority. And more appallingly, apparently Congress has never exercised their duty and obligation to rein them in.

Congressmen John Mica (R-FL) and Jeff Denham (R-CA), serving on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are demanding a legal explanation for the lease.

A GSA spokeswoman says they receive their authority from a GSA “legal opinion” which trumps Congress.

Mica said at a July 26 hearing that GSA believes it can get around Congress and enter into leases on its own despite what the law said and that the agency has “spun out of control.”

“We are either approving leases or we are not,” Mica said…

“I am very disturbed by GSA’s recent decision to flagrantly disregard 40 years of legal precedent and enter into a lease binding the taxpayer to hundreds of millions of dollars of lease payments without authorization to do so,” Denham said at a hearing July 26. Source: Federal Times

The GSA accuses the Committee of taking 300 days to approve a lease. That’s ridiculous, unless the GSA is tasking the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee with an immense number of leases.

“The Federal Government Must Stop Sitting on Its Assets”: With deficits over a trillion dollars the federal government simply cannot afford to sit on money-losing properties and empty federal buildings. The federal government is the single largest property owner in the country, but the mismanagement of these properties causes millions of dollars to be wasted in the operation of vacant and nearly vacant government buildings, sometimes while leasing costly office space in the same areas. The Committee is working to improve the federal government’s management of these and other assets in order to save taxpayers money.

On this particular building the GSA DID submit it to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, controlled by Democrats (bowing to green initiatives) and they approved the lease with “no concerns.”

The coming 113th Congress must begin administering law to the letter of every word, and I believe the newer members are ready to do so. Denham won his seat in January 2011. Mica has been in Congress since 1993, but would have chaired the Committee until at least January 2011, with Democrats in control since 2007.