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Published On: Thu, Jun 27th, 2013

IG report finds IRS using credit cards for wine, pornography spending over $100 million

A IG report flagged inappropriate behavior at the IRS, this time claiming government credit cards were used to make questionable purchases on items ranging from wine to online pornography. 

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

The report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found that between fiscal 2010 and 2011, the more than 5,000 IRS card accounts racked up $103 million in purchases. 

“While the majority of IRS cardholders appear to use their purchase cards properly, TIGTA’s audit identified some troubling instances of inappropriate usage,” J. Russell George, the inspector general, said in a statement. 

Investigators found that one IRS employee spent $2,655 on diet pills, romance novels, steaks, a smartphone and baby-related items, including bottles, games and clothes. The case was referred to the IG’s office that investigates employee misconduct, the report said.

Among other “improper” purchases identified by the inspector general:

  • $3,152 to rent a popcorn machine and to buy prizes for an employee event, including bandanas, stuffed animals, sunglasses and stovepipe hats.
  • $418 for novelty decorations and swag at managers’ meetings, including kazoos, bathtub toys and “Thomas the Tank Engine” wristbands.
  • $119 for Nerf footballs that were never used and were found stored in a filing cabinet.

“Inadequate procedures to identify, report and address inappropriate use leaves the IRS purchase card program vulnerable to repeated violations of applicable laws and regulations,” said George.

The report said IRS credit cards paid for 28 bottles of wine at the 2010 luncheon for tax officials from other countries. There were 41 guests. 

In another case, cards were used to make questionable purchases of decorative and give-away items including plush animals, bandanas, kazoos and a rented popcorn machine. 

Two IRS credit cards were also used to buy online pornography, though the employees reported the cards stolen. One of the workers reported five agency credit cards lost or stolen.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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