– Massive Fraud Has Been Unveiled at the EPA (Again) (Liberty Blitzkrieg, March 12, 2014):
While I doubt anyone reading this will be shocked by major fraud at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the potential extent of the fraud is huge, and we still have no idea how big it is.
A report released by the EPA’s Inspector General found that over 90% of sampled transactions were for “prohibited, improper, or erroneous purchases.” Worst of all, the sample size was extremely small at only 80 transactions out of 67,000 transactions during the sample period. Considering EPA cardholders spent $29 million in taxpayer dollars in 2012 with a potential 90% fraud rate, you do the math.
Oh, but the story gets even better (or worse, depending on your perspective). Examples of egregious fraud at the EPA have been well documented in the past, in fact as recently as in 2008. Absolutely nothing was done about it.
More from Americans for Tax Reform:
A report released by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General has found that EPA employees have improperly used federal charge cards to purchase everything from gym memberships to gift cards. The report indicated that over 90 percent of the sampled transactions were for prohibited, improper, or erroneous purchases, all paid for by American taxpayers. Ironically, Senate Democrats Monday night carried on an all-night filibuster in the hopes of generating even more power and funding for the EPA.
The report outlined nine specific internal control oversight issues, ranging from the approval of prohibited transactions by EPA officials to the outright failure to maintain transaction records.
Some specific instances of EPA employee misconduct were so egregious they are worth mentioning. In three instances, cardholders purchased gym memberships totaling $2,867. Two of those purchases were not even for EPA employees but for family members.
The report also found that the purchase of gift cards by EPA cardholders was also a problem in seven transactions. For example, in one transaction 20 American Express gift cards were purchased totaling $1,588. Additionally, the report highlighted an instance where EPA employees blatantly violated records keeping requirements in that:
Two transactions totaling $26,152 could not be located despite instructions to maintain supporting documentation. The EPA’s policy requires the retention of documentation for 3 years on a fiscal year basis. Cardholders were not attentive to this basic requirement. In two cases, the cardholders left their positions and no arrangements were made to retain the records. In another transaction the cardholder stated that records were not kept because of privacy concerns. This lack of documentation increases the risk that purchases could be fraudulent, improper or abusive.
It must also be pointed out that the report focused on only 80 transactions out of 67,000, ninety-two percent of which turned out to be prohibited or improper.For FY 2012, the EPA had “1,370 active cardholders that transacted more than $29 million in purchases.” The EPA also had “309 convenience check writers who wrote more than 1,000 checks totaling more than $500,000.” It is very likely the 80 transactions sampled are just the tip of an iceberg characterized by improper and wasteful spending of federal funds.
The ultimate irony is that a similar report conducted in 2008 found the exact same internal control weaknesses as those found in the most recent report conducted by the Inspector General. Due to an obvious inability of EPA officials to correct these internal control weaknesses, there is no guarantee that any of the prohibited and improper conduct by EPA employees will change.
Full article here.