Pentagon employees used government-issued credit cards to pay for gambling, escorts and other adult activities, according to a Department of Defense audit.
Employees purportedly aimed to conceal charges from their spouses, using them in casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, according to Politico. “A Pentagon official briefed on some of the findings stressed that the federal government did not necessarily pay the charges; holders of the cards pay their own bills and then submit receipts to be reimbursed for expenses related to their government business,” writes Politico reporter Bryan Bender.
Only the credit card system was audited – not certain individuals – so affected agencies will respond by reminding employees such practices are against policy and potentially break the law.
Gross misuse by Pentagon employees was reported in the early 2000s, when more than 700 military officers charged personal expenses to government credit cards without any repercussions. One Navy employee charged nearly $12,000 to her government-issued card, yet she was promoted to a financial management position at the Pentagon, according to The New York Times.
President Barack Obama signed the “Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act” in 2012, sponsored by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, in order to increase monitoring of potential misuse. But curbing the practice is proving difficult, reports Politico:
For example, the Department of Labor’s Inspector General recently found that Job Corps employees charged nearly $100,000 to the government for hair cuts, clothing, and personal cell phone service. The Department of Homeland Security found that Coast Guard employees charged more than $12,000 at a one California coffee shop alone. Three employees were fired and two resigned last year at the Bureau of Land Management after they charged $800,000 worth of gift cards on their government credit cards.
An employee at the Environmental Protection Agency downloaded pornography at the taxpayer’s expense and not only kept his job but received performance awards. (RELATED: EPA Employees Not Fired For Watching Pornography, Stealing Money)
Last year, an employee at the Department of Treasury blamed boredom for his habit of viewing pornography while at work, according to The Washington Times.
The audit is expected to become public in coming weeks.