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|Grassley Works for Accountability with Government Charge Cards|
|News Releases - General Info|
|Written by Grassley Press|
|Thursday, 10 February 2011 15:34|
February 8, 2011
Grassley works to stop abuse of government charge cards by federal employees
WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today introduced a bill to require federal agencies to put new safeguards and controls on government charge cards used by federal employees. The bill also would require penalties for violations.
“This bill is about accountability,” Grassley said. “The public trust has been violated by abusive use of government charge cards. The federal bureaucracy needs to improve the way it manages the use of these cards.”
Grassley said his bill responds to outrageous accounts of purchases made with government charge cards, as well as independent analysis which found inadequate and inconsistent controls within government agencies for these government charge cards. Purchase cards are used by authorized federal employees for the small-scale items needed for official business, such as office supplies. Travel cards are issued to federal employees to pay for official travel expenses.
Grassley has put the spotlight on problematic use of these cards for ten years, first at the Department of Defense and then also at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Forest Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, and elsewhere.
Over the years, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office has documented fraudulent, questionable and overly expensive purchases made by federal workers with government purchase and travel cards, including kitchen appliances, jewelry, gambling, cruises, and even the tab at gentlemen’s clubs and legalized brothels.
Below is a summary of the reform legislation that Grassley is reintroducing. It is cosponsored by Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins. The Senate passed the measure in 2009, but it was not taken up by the House of Representatives during the last Congress.
Summary of the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act
The bill would require all federal agencies to establish certain safeguards and internal controls for government charge card programs, and to establish penalties for violations, including dismissal when circumstances warrant. The bill would also increase oversight by providing that each agency Inspector General periodically conduct risk assessments and audits to identify fraud and improper use of government charge cards. These reforms are based on the experience of Senator Grassley and other members of Congress, the GAO, and agency Inspectors General in investigating the weaknesses in agency policies and procedures that have lead to instances of waste, fraud, and abuse in government charge card programs.
The required safeguards and internal controls include:
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