Lisa Rein
Washington Post
April 8, 2012

At the start of his mind-reading act, Bob Garner asked a federal employee for the name of his dead dog. He asked someone else to recall a person close to them who had passed away. Then he shared some of the messages the deceased sent from the other side.

Each time, the self-described mentalist and “motivational speaker with a ‘WOW’ factor” was able to divine the truth. What he couldn’t predict was the outrage his $3,200, expenses-paid poolside gig would cause in Washington after his bill showed up on the General Services Administration’s $823,000 tab from a Las Vegas spending spree.

But what works in the corporate world does not necessarily fly in the federal government, where taxpayers, not shareholders, have to foot the bill.

Garner’s booking at the sumptuous M Resort Spa Casino off the Las Vegas Strip, where GSA flew him from California in October 2010, has become a head-scratching symbol of a major spending scandal.

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