FAA union lawyers questioning journalists who report on drunken, taxpayer-funded FAA party (UPDATE) 

 

Earlier today on Beltway Confidential, I posted an item about how the Federal Aviation Administration threw a "$5 million taxpayer-funded drunken bash" at an Atlanta hotel for federal employees. The entire item was based on a terrific video report by ABC news, that's highly embarassing for the FAA. ABC News caught a number of federal employees engaged in deplorable behavior on tape as well as federal managers defending the party.

Within a very short time of my post landing on the internet, I got a phone call at my desk from someone at Gebhardt and Associates, an employment law firm in DC, rather insouciently demanding to know where I got my information about this FAA party. I had to patiently explain this how this whole blog item was drawn from the ABC report linked therein. They abruptly got off the phone, likely having decided they'd be better off harassing ABC News, who actually published the report, instead of The Examiner.

Not surprisingly, after I got off the call, a quick Google search shows that Gebhardt and Associates is legal counsel (or has represented them in the past) for National Association of Air Traffic Specialists -- the federal employees union that represents air traffic controllers employed by the FAA. I called back Gebhardt and Associates and they did confirm they do represent Air Traffic controllers but wouldn't say anything beyond the fact they were just gathering information. For what it's worth, Gebhardt's spokesman was much more polite the second time around.

If I didn't know better, I'd say it looks like the federal employees implicated are in serious damage control mode.

So to repeat -- federal employees are caught on camera wasting millions of tax dollars in just about the most superfluous and embarassing way possible, and all of a sudden a law firm that represents one of the relevant federal employee unions starts making testy calls to journalists who dare to publicly report about what's going on. Bear in mind, your tax dollars are indirectly paying the union dues that pay this law firm.

Really makes you proud to be a taxpayer, no?

UPDATE: Gebhardt and Associates has sent me a statement clarifying they have no relationship with the union currently and condemning the FAA's waste of tax dollars.

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Mark Hemingway

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