Hearings will air DOD misuse of purchase cards

Hearings will air DOD misuse of purchase cards

By Dawn S. Onley

GCN Staff

JULY 27—The Pentagon is under fire by legislators for not properly monitoring credit cards given to its employees, which, they say, resulted in millions of dollars worth of unauthorized charges, including numerous fraudulent computer purchases.

Congressional leaders will make public next week a General Accounting Office review which found that the Pentagon failed to control the use of the 1.8 million cards it issued. In total, the cards were used for 10 million purchases worth $9 billion. The cards are intended for official purchases or for travel, but over the past two years, authorities said, some military personnel used them to purchase home computers, notebook PCs, personal digital assistants and DVD players among other fraudulent purchases.

'Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld has dedicated himself to fiscal responsibility,' said Pentagon spokeswoman Susan Hansen in answering the charges. 'I think the Navy and the witnesses at the hearing on Monday will be in a better position to respond to this.'

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee; Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on government efficiency; and GAO officials conducted the reviews. They will discuss their findings at a hearing on Monday, where several military witnesses will testify.

GAO's review of credit card use included two San Diego naval facilities, more than $660,000 in personal purchases, and a Marine sergeant who ran up $20,000 in charges and then left the service. Navy Department officials are also expected to testify at Monday's hearing.

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