Federal Agents Accused of Misusing Credit Cards
A congressional hearing last week revealed there may have been significant misuse of taxpayer-funded credit cards by federal agencies. This is occurring in spite of the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 which was passed to prevent this.
Auditors discovered more than half the charges from a sample of Environmental Protection Agency accounts had charges that were prohibited under the new guidelines. The sample included $153,000 in transactions. Prohibited charges included everything from family gym memberships to fine dining.
One program center for the Department of Labor reported close to $100,000 in misuse for charges like haircuts, online purchases and clothing.
Rep. John Mica from Florida, chairman of the U.S. House oversight subcommittee, noted the Department of Homeland Security had more than $12,000 worth of charges on government-issued credit cards at one Starbucks location in California. Anne Richards, a DHS assistant inspector general, said she is looking into those charges, but they are likely a result of stocking boat kitchens for the Coast Guard.
A review of the EPA in March found employees had violated a rule allowing them to purchase “light refreshments” on their cards. One employee charged $2,900 for food and drinks for an employee reward ceremony.
“It’s absolutely vital that we enhance enforcement to ensure that justice is carried out,” Rep. Gerald Connolly from Virginia told the New York Post.