The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

Don’t look now, but cer­tain bu­reau­crats car­ry­ing Un­cle Sam’s credit card in their wal­lets are back to spending your hard­earned tax­payer dol­lars on ev­ery­thing from first-class travel to Hawaii to laser eye surgery.

The Project on Gov­ern­ment Over­sight (POGO) has ob­tained a new Con­gres­sional Re­search Ser­vice re­port de­tail­ing abuses in the fed­eral gov­ern­ment travel card pro­gram, cost­ing tax­pay­ers “mil­lions of dol­lars an­nu­ally.”

The CRS re­port looked at Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice and fed­eral in­spec­tor gen­eral re­ports and found, among other im­proper or unau­tho­rized charges: $3,700 for laser eye surgery; re­im­burse­ment of nearly $10,000 for tick­ets that an of­fi­cial never pur­chased; a charge for a first-class trip to Hawaii; and nu­mer­ous up­grades to pre­mi­um­class ac­com­mo­da­tions.

Even worse, fed­eral agen­cies failed to re­cover mil­lions of dol­lars in un­used travel tick­ets. For ex­am­ple, the Depart­ment of De­fense had $100 mil­lion in un­used tick­ets from 1997 to 2003.

Noted Scott Amey, POGO’s gen­eral coun­sel: “A pri­vate travel agency would be out of busi­ness run­ning this kind of op­er­a­tion.”

John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jm­c­caslin@wash­ing­ton­times .com.

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