Money and Democracy

Published — February 8, 2011 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Grassley targets federal charge card abuses


Many federal employees have government-issued charge cards for work-related expenses, and a handful of workers are using taxpayer dollars to pay for entertainment, prostitutes, and gambling.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, wants to require federal agencies to put safeguards on the charge cards and require penalties for violations.

Grassley has uncovered instances where cards were used to buy kitchen appliances, jewelry, gambling, cruises, and tabs at strip clubs and legalized brothels. The senator has singled out fraud at the Department of Defense, Federal Aviation Administration and Forest Service.

According to Grassley, millions in taxpayer dollars are being fraudulently wasted by government employees. His reform bill passed the Senate in 2009, but the House never took it up.

The bill would require agencies maintain records for each cardholder, perform credit checks, and issue restricted cards for those with poor credit or no credit record. In addition to Grassley’s criticism, the Government Accountability Office has also cited a lack of oversight over the employee charge cards.

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