A Department of State employee charged nearly $5,000 at Wee Breast and General Surgery in Singapore, and taxpayers footed the bill, according to a new State Department Inspector General (IG) report.
That’s just one of the hundreds of “questionable” transactions current — and former — State Department employees charged on their government-issued travel cards in fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The IG found the State Department allowed former employees to spend nearly $64,000 on travel cards, and current employees to spend more than $200,000 on questionable expenses, violating federal travel regulations.
“One reason this occurred was because the department had not reviewed or updated its list of prohibited merchant categories,” the IG said. “The lack of controls may allow travel card holders who misuse the travel card to go undetected.”
The IG also found the State Department failed to set up disciplinary measures to deter and punish card-holding employees, as the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012 requires. (RELATED: Kerry’s State Dept Sent MILLIONS To Daughter’s Group)
The $200,000 in questionable expenses included $50,000 on recreational and sporting goods and $10,000 at home furnishing specialty stores. State officials also failed to revoke travel cards for 96 employees after they left the State Department. The IG found 16 of those employees made 247 transactions worth $63,886 after leaving State.
“Former employees with active travel cards may misuse the travel cards and the department would have little recourse against them,” the IG said.
The State Department’s 8,113 employees with travel cards in 2013 charged more than $25 million on them.
The IG recommended the State Department develop and use disciplinary procedures for travel card misuse and immediately suspend employees’ travel cards when they are placed on administrative leave or resign or retire from the department.
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