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Public Statements

Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CHAFFETZ. S. 300 puts commonsense controls on the users of government charge cards which allow Federal workers to purchase goods and to travel in a timely and cost-efficient manner. In any economy, but especially the one we're in now, there is no room for waste, much less fraud and abuse. These safeguards will make all users of Federal charge cards accountable for their use.

While the use of charge cards has saved the Federal Government both time and money when compared to a paper reimbursement system, some Federal employees have abused their purchase and travel card privileges, resulting in unnecessary and sometimes fraudulent expenses.

Numerous GAO reports over the last decade have called for additional controls to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse in the government charge card program. In 2008, GAO estimated that nearly 41 percent of purchase card transactions failed to meet basic internal control standards.

Senator Grassley has put the spotlight on the problematic use of government charge cards for more than a decade, and the GAO has documented fraudulent purchases made by Federal workers with these cards, including jewelry, gambling, cruises, and even the tab at gentlemen's clubs. Government charge cards were used to pay for the infamous GSA 2010 Western Regional Conference.

The Oversight Committee was able to work on a bipartisan basis with the Armed Services Committee to bring Senator Grassley's bill, S. 300, to the floor today. The bill brings needed accountability to the process by which the Federal Government manages charge cards used by Federal employees.

S. 300 requires agencies to improve their internal controls for government charge cards. It is based largely on GAO's recommendations for preventing waste, fraud, and abuse. The additional safeguards resulting from the bill will avoid the waste of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on fraudulent or questionable purposes. The controls also help ensure the Federal Government benefits from rebates available from charge card vendors for prompt payment.

S. 300 requires agency inspectors general to periodically conduct risk assessments and perform audits to identify potential abuse of government charge cards. The bill also requires agencies to take appropriate disciplinary action, including removal, for Federal employees who misuse charge cards. This provision responds to GAO investigations that found inconsistent or nonexistent consequences for Federal employees who abuse these charge card privileges.

I will be placing into the Record a jurisdictional exchange of letters between the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


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