Similarly, The Environmental Protection Agency has also come under fire for a lack of oversight over its government charge cards. In March, the EPA's IG said some of the agency's employees had used their federal charge cards to buy personal items like gym memberships for themselves and their family members, lavish dinners and DVDs. A sample of charges totaling $152,600 in 2012 showed that half of that, or about $79,300, were "prohibited, improper and erroneous."
The Internal Revenue Service has also had a number of issues with employees abusing their taxpayer-funded credit cards. Last year, a slew of audits revealed that IRS workers were charging their cards for smart phones, romance novels, baby clothes, diet pills and pornography.
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In one case, $2,500 worth of personal items was charged to an agency credit card. Like the Job Corps, the VA and the EPA, the auditors faulted the IRS for not having oversight over its credit card program. The IG even noted that the agency had no procedure in place to cancel credit cards when employees leave the agency.
The widespread abuse even prompted Congress to pass legislation in 2012 that required federal agencies to review their purchase card programs. New guidelines issued by the Office of Management and Budget even warn that workers caught improperly charging their cards could face dismissal.
Regardless, the problem persists and auditors still say some agencies continue failing to conduct reviews, leaving more money vulnerable to waste and abuse.
There's a presumption in the private sector that anyone with a corporate or government credit card must fill out a monthly expense report, detail the expenses with receipts, and submit that report to his or her direct supervisor for approval.
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Some companies have software that automatically rejects certain expenses - just as a health care spending card can't buy candy at the drug store.
Once again, the competence of government IT systems as well as the managers in charge of spending taxpayer dollars are in question.
—By Brianna Ehley of The Fiscal Times