A recent audit of Pentagon employees' spending habits revealed a rampant misuse of government credit cards, for purposes such as gambling and adult activities, including the use of escort services. The audit was ordered as part of efforts to eliminate corruption and better account for taxpayer dollars.
The findings of the report, titled "Government Travel Charge Transactions," by the office of the inspector general for civilian and military employees, included evidence that Pentagon staffers used government-issued credit cards at casinos and to pay for escort services in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, Politico reports.
A Pentagon spokeswoman confirmed that audit results had unearthed corruption, but refrained from sharing more details until the complete report is published. Fox New quoted an official who said the number of people involved in such credit card purchases was unknown.
ABC News reported that the bulk of the credit card misuse occurred between July 2013 and June 2014. Defense Department cardholders spent a total of $952,258 at casinos and $96,576 on adult entertainment. According to an official, the audit traced 4,437 transactions at casinos and 900 transactions with businesses during that period.
A Pentagon official said the behavior neither “comports with our values nor represents the good service of vast majority or service members or DOD civilians.”
The purchases seemed to be in violation of the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012, a law intended to prevent misuse of official credit cards. The law empowers federal agencies to heighten vigilance against such purchases with government-issued credit cards.
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said he was pleased that a law he sponsored became a catalyst for the audit. Previously, there have been cases of credit cards being used for online dating services, buying video iPods and splurging on lavish dinners and liquor, a report from the Government Accountability Office said.
The latest report notes that such issues are far from over, despite the efforts to curb them. The Department of Homeland Security also cracked down on some Coast Guard personnel for charging more than $12,000 at a California coffee shop.
As for punishment in such cases, the Bureau of Land Management sacked a number of employees, and convinced others to quit, following disclosures that $800,000 in gift cards had been purchased with government-issued credit cards.
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