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The Nation

Credit Abuse in Interior Dept. Cited

April 10, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Interior Department employees used government-issued credit cards to pay their rent, withdraw money at casinos and buy jewelry and furniture, an audit found.

Almost three-quarters of the department's 79,000 workers have government credit cards, and the agency's inspector general found problems with use and oversight.

"The department and its bureaus do not have sufficient controls in place to minimize abuse of the charge card," the report said.

Interior spokesman John Wright said Tuesday the department is working to solve the problems identified in the audit, which was completed in late December.

Employees with government-issued cards made more than 2 million purchases for $675 million in fiscal years 1999 and 2000. Employees were not named and the report did not say whether they repaid the government or were disciplined.

The audit was completed a year after the Clinton administration gave the department an award for good management of its credit card system.

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