Senator Grassley (Iowa) is introducing legislation to counter what he calls massive abuse with government credit cards.

He is quoted on his site as saying:

Every time we open these GAO reports we find more outrageous spending. Internet gambling and a Yankees baseball game don’t seem to be appropriate uses of tax payer money. The federal agencies don’t seem to be stepping up, so our legislation helps put some common sense controls on these credit cards.

The press release covers this in more detail:

Grassley said the legislation would also stipulate that cases of fraud be referred to the U.S. Attorney for prosecution and employees that egregiously misuse or commit fraud with a government charge card be fired. The bill would also increase oversight by providing that each agency Inspector General periodically conduct risk assessments and audits to identify fraud and improper use of credit cards.

Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Grassley was concerned that provision raising the limit for emergency “micro-purchases” on government credit cards from $15,000 to $250,000 was ripe for waste, fraud and abuse and successfully fought to bring the limit back down. At the time, Grassley said that wasting taxpayer money does not help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Does this mean that government employees can commit fraud and waste taxpayer money without being fired, or prosecuted? If this happened in the private sector, the culprits would likely be fired and (possibly) prosecuted.

The sad thing is that Senator Grassley has attempted to introduce this legislation in the last two Congresses and it was never acted upon.

So far wasted taxpayer money not helping the Katrina victims, the GAO confirmed Senator Grassley’s prediction. Here is a previous post on that matter:

More Allegations of Money Wasted in Katrina

Senator Grassley’s press release on this matter, here.

Of note, Senators Norm Coleman of Minn., Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and Susan Collins of Maine are supporting Senator Grassley in this legislation. Congressman Joe Wilson has filed similar legislation in the House of Representatives on government credit card abuse.

Civil servants should be held to at least the same standard as the people they are serving!

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