Workers Spend $29 Billion on Government Credit Cards a Year
Reports from the IRS reveal that government employees spend over $29 billion on federal credit cards every year. This is actually a decline from the nearly $31 billion in 2011, but they still reveal a shocking amount of money flowing through government-funded plastic.
Most of the charges on these cards are completely legitimate. They cover items that the employees need for their jobs. However, a 2008 audit by the Government Accountability Office indicates that 48% of the transactions over $2,500 occurred in violation of federal rules.
One case of fraud involved a longtime employee of the U.S. Forest Service who issued convenience checks to her boyfriend from 2000 to 2006. Those checks added up to more than $640,000, which he used for mortgage payments, gambling, and car payments. That is only one of countless cases the IRS is now investigating.
The government does receive rewards from the money spent on the 3.5 million federal credit card accounts. Last year, that earned $306 million.
“Purchase cards in the federal government are used for official travel, supplies, and services directly related to agencies’ missions and serving the American people,” said Daniel Cruz, a spokesperson for the GSA.
That may not be the case all the time any longer. Investigators continue to dive into reports from 2012 and prior years.