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Army Purchase Card Used for Escort Service

July 17, 2002 


An Army employee used a government purchase card to pay for $630 in escort services, according to a new General Accounting Office (GAO) report scheduled to be made public at a House Subcommittee hearing today being chaired by Representative Steve Horn (R-CA). A draft of the report was leaked to the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).

The House Government Efficiency, Financial Management, and Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee hearing, "Government Travel and Purchase Card Programs at the Department of the Army," is scheduled for 2 p.m. today in room 2154 of the Rayburn Office Building.

Today's hearing is the second in a series on the much abused purchase card program. At a hearing held by Horn earlier this year it was revealed that one federal employee paid for breast enlargement surgery for his girlfriend, a Hooters waitress. Ironically, reports of the widespread abuse of employee purchase cards come at a time when new legislation championed by Representative Tom Davis, R-VA, the Services Acquisition Reform Act, is attempting to increase the unaudited cap of purchase cards from $2,500 to $25,000.

"Davis' proposal is the latest in a long line of contractor favors masquerading as legislation. While the Army is hiring escorts, it's the taxpayers that are getting screwed." said POGO's Executive Director, Danielle Brian. "Pooh-poohing competition and oversight practices as unwieldy or bureaucratic has been a central feature of Tom Davis' campaign for so-called reform legislation."

The GAO report also said an e-mail citing a "need to get enough goodies for everyone" was the apparent reason the purchase of 80 Palm Pilots costing $30,000 with two Department of Defense employee purchase cards.

Other abuses highlighted in the new GAO report include:

  • At Fort Hood in Texas, 317 purchase cardholders were not even assigned to the unit that originally issued the cards.

  • At Fort Benning in Georgia, records of one cardholder revealed $10,748 worth of purchases for clothes, a personal trip to Las Vegas, and to pay off personal debts.

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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