additional vendors. In doing so, the cardholder circumvented the rules and obtained the items without competitive sourcing as required by the FAR.
USPS paid over $13,000 for 8121 conference attendees to dine at an upscale steak restaurant in Orlando, Florida, in 2006. The dinner, which cost over $160 per person, included steaks, crab, appetizers, and over $3,000 in alcoholic beverages purchased over a 5-hour period. We define this transaction as abusive.
At the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a cardholder used the government purchase card to acquire two 60GB iPods. Although NASA officials maintained that the iPods were essential for official data storage, we found that the cardholder personalized the iPods with the requester’s and agency’s names and used the iPods to store songs and music videos. Although the iPods had some business files on them, we concluded that the purchase was abusive because other data storage devices without video and audio capabilities were available at lower costs.
This report contains recommendations to OMB and GSA aimed at minimizing improper and abusive purchase card activities. Our recommendations address the need for OMB and GSA to provide guidance and instructions directing agencies to strengthen internal controls over the purchase card programs, including controls over convenience checks and accountable property acquired with the purchase card, and to impose liability for unauthorized purchases. Further, we discussed cases of potential fraud, waste, and abuse we identified in this report with respective agency management or inspector general offices for further actions, including, if warranted, repayment of the cost of improper purchase card use and disciplinary actions against those who have abused their purchase cards.
In written comments on a draft of this report, OMB agreed and GSA partially agreed with our recommendations. GSA wholly or partially concurred with 4 recommendations, but disagreed with the majority of our
21According to USPS, 108 individuals were invited to the dinner and 95 attended. While USPS provided us a list of the 108 invitees, it was not able to identify the 95 invitees whom it claimed actually attended. Further, independent, third-party evidence we obtained from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse showed that 81 individuals attended the dinner. Our review of the independent documentation also showed that 81 entrees, 81 salads, and numerous other appetizers and side dishes were provided.
GAO-08-333 Governmentwide Purchase Cards