Latest IRS Scandal: Employee Credit Cards Bought Wine, Porn and Kazoos

Latest IRS Scandal: Employee Credit Cards Bought Wine, Porn and Kazoos

A new report from a government watchdog agency shows that IRS employees have used government credit cards to make purchases that included expensive wine, pornography, romance novels and diet pills.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported that more than 5,000 Internal Revenue Service credit card accounts made more than 273,000 purchases totaling $108 million between fiscal 2010 and 2011. While most of the charges were legitimate, poor oversight allowed workers to make inappropriate purchases in less than 1% of the cases.

Two of the credit cards were used to buy online pornography. Other improper purchases included: $3,152 to rent a popcorn machine and buy bandanas, stuffed animals, sunglasses and stovepipe hats for an employee event; $418 for novelties such as kazoos and bathtub toys to be used at managers' meetings; a dinner that cost approximately $140 per person, and a lunch that cost about $100 per person.

“Inadequate procedures to identify, report and address inappropriate use leave the IRS purchase card program vulnerable to repeated violations of applicable laws and regulations,” said J. Russell George, the inspector general said in a statement. "While the majority of IRS cardholders appear to use their purchase cards properly, TIGTA’s audit identified some troubling instances of inappropriate usage.”