The Treasury Inspector General recently released an audit report that showed in a two year period more than 1,000 IRS employees misused government charge cards issued by Citibank.
The report was released on May 29 and covered fiscal years 2010 and 2011, as reported by CNS News:
“…during the two years in question agency employees sent Citibank a total of 325 bad checks written on personal accounts that had insufficient funds to cover them, that agency officials with top-secret security clearances had their charge accounts suspended for failure to pay the balances, and that the IRS had a tendency of being “overly lenient” in disciplining those who misused the cards.”
However, the IRS is said to have done a “generally effective” job in controlling its employees use of the cards. It’s not clear how this standard matches up with private industry.
“We found that the IRS was generally effective in implementing travel card controls,” said the IG report.
Overall, there were 51,974 IRS employees carrying Citibank IRS travel cards by the end of FY 2011, and they charged a total of $121 million in travel expenses to American taxpayers.
CNS News points out that an executive-level official, a criminal investigator, and multiple employees with security clearances are among the IRS employees who misused charge cards.
The IG report stated:
“We found that 15 cardholders with either secret or top-secret clearances had their travel accounts suspended due to their failure to pay outstanding balances. Two other cardholders with secret and top-secret clearances presented NSF [non-sufficient funds] checks to Citibank for payment of their travel card balance.”
And there appears to be few penalties for such behavior, as CNS notes that “employees who wrote NSF checks or had suspended or charged-off accounts received little or no disciplinary action in response to their misuse and did not have their background clearances reevaluated for suitability for employment.”
U.S. taxpayers should not expect to be treated so casually should they choose to emulate IRS employees when paying taxes.