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Project on Government Oversight

Here We Go Again: No Accountability For Federal Credit Cards; Pushes Limits To New Highs (Or Lows)

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April 9, 2008

Recent media reports regarding the abuse of government credit cards, prompted by the release of a Senate report on Monday, April 7, shines a fresh light on a problem POGO first investigated in 2002.  Over the years, purchase card holders have bought Atlanta Braves tickets, Victoria 's Secret merchandise, jewelry, cell phones, tires, escort services, and in one instance, we found an inventive federal employee who purchased breast enhancement surgery for his girlfriend.  

The following are some of POGO’s previous recommendations for addressing purchase card abuses.

  • Congress should require additional guidance to improve the management of the government’s purchase card program.

  • The government should consistently implement purchase card program internal controls.

  • Purchase cards should only be issued to individuals who have a documented need to acquire items for the government.

  • Purchase card accounts should be conditional on cardholders receiving training on the program’s key internal controls, which should reduce fraudulent and abusive purchases.

  • No cardholder should be their own authorizing official.

  • Agencies should confirm that approving officials review cardholder support and certify monthly statements.

Follow the link for more background:

GAO Report - Governmentwide Purchase Cards; Actions Needed to Strengthen Internal Controls to Reduce Fraudulent, Improper, and Abusive Practices, March 2008. GAO-08-333.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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