Senate approves measures against charge-card abuses

The Senate has passed legislation that would require agencies to put new safeguards and controls on government charge cards used by federal employees.

The Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act (S.300) passed July 22 also would increase oversight by providing that each agency's inspector general periodically conduct risk assessments and audits to identify fraud and improper use of government charge cards.

The cards save money and time rather than using the bureaucratic system of making small purchases, such as travel and other job-related expenses.

However, some employees have abused the cards. In the last decade, the Government Accountability Office has found inadequate and inconsistent controls across agencies regarding charge cards, according to a report on the legislation.

The bill is based largely on those recommendations to prevent recurring waste, fraud, and abuses.

“The public trust has been violated by abusive use of government charge cards. The federal bureaucracy needs to improve the way it manages the use of these cards,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who introduced the bill.

Among other stipulations, it would require officials to check the credit of employees who are issued travel cards, and maintain a record of each card holder. Officials would also have to regularly review whether a card holder needs a charge card.

The bill has been sent to the House.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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