Watchdog: Follow the Money

Porn, wine, Nerf footballs bought with IRS credit cards, IG says

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Politics,Watchdog,IRS,Kelly Cohen,Inspectors General,Follow the Money,Credit Cards

A lack of oversight allowed Internal Revenue Service employees to purchase wine and pornography, among other things, with government-issued credit cards, the agency's inspector general said.

The IRS made more than 273,000 purchases totaling more than $103 million by using credit cards and another $4.4 million using convenience checks, the inspector general said in a June 20 report. The purchases took place in 2010 and 2011.

Of the almost 400 cards given to employees, just two percent were cut off before the employee to which they were assigned left the IRS, the IG said. The exact number cut off was not specified in the report, but two percent of 400 is eight.

Purchases ranged from entertaining foreign officials at a $140-per-person dinner to a lunch that cost $100 per person.

The report shows that the "trend of purchase card usage remained stable during this period at an average of about $965,000 per week."

The IG's office found that the cards were also misused for managers' meetings, team-building exercises and fundraising activities. This includes almost $4,000 in "improper decorative and give-away items" such as a popcorn machine rental, Nerf footballs and the "world's largest crossword puzzle" bought for team-building.

Alcohol purchases totaled more than $50,000 — including an instance of buying 28 bottles of wine for 41 guests. Two cards were also used to buy online pornography. The cardholders claimed their individual cards were stolen, but only after the audit was done.

The IRS agreed with all 11 recommendations and said it plans to take corrective actions.

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