A frequent whistle-blower on glaring government waste, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s a positive step that the head of America’s premiere museum and research complex has quit. Grassley says, "The head of the Smithsonian Institution resigned yesterday after public exposure of a champagne lifestyle at Smithsonian expense, including $90,000 in unauthorized expenses, one-and-one-tenth million in a housing allowance, and extensive charges for the upkeep of his own home and lavish furnishings for his Smithsonian office."
Now-former Smithsonian secretary Lawrence Small stepped down after more than seven years in the post. Grassley says Iowa families who are in Washington D.C. for Spring Break should be able to visit the many museums on the complex without being tainted by the controversy. Grassley has proposed legislation to freeze millions of dollars in Smithsonian funding based on the "excessive" spending by Small.
Grassley says he’ll continue his oversight work to bring reform to the museum complex’s system and says he’s confident the incoming director will "restore the institution’s status as a point of national pride." Small was convicted of federal charges in 2004 for illegally bringing feathers from endangered birds into the U.S. as part of headdress artifacts for his personal collection. He was sentenced to probation and community service.