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Archived: EDITORIAL: Lack of Oversight Makes Gov Credit Cards Rife for Abuse

We continue to be surprised by the number of elected officials, government workers and political appointees being “caught” making inappropriate expenditures on their government issued credit cards.

We really shouldn’t be surprised, however, since it is an issue that seems to never go away.

Too many government agencies are derelict when it comes to their responsibility to adequately inform the users of government credit card on what is allowable, or to monitor those expenditures or reimbursements for travel and other expenses taking place on the taxpayer’s dime.

An agency’s per diem policy should be specified in writing, and accompanied by instructional sessions after which the user of the government issued credit card must sign off on, indicating they fully understand the policy. There’s no room for ambiguity when it comes to using taxpayer dollars to cover expenses for travel, food or air fair.

Liquor has never been an allowable expense on government credit cards, nor is it supposed to be reimbursed. So one has to wonder if that policy has been made clear, or do those using government credit cards know that no one is really looking at their credit card statements, so why not go ahead and charge?

And it seems that they would not be wrong in thinking they can get away with it, since in many cases it takes years for anyone to even notice, or to charge them with wrongdoing.

Things like hotel and air reservations should be the responsibility of someone within the agency who knows how to get the best rates offered to government employees, elected officials or appointees. Why it’s not, is beyond us.

The real scandal is the lack of oversight over government spending that goes on everyday. It’s time to hold the government employees charged with issuing and paying these accounts just as responsible as those who have abused the credit cards.

Perhaps than more of these scandals can be avoided in the first place.