OMB calls for reports on stemming charge card abuse

The Office of Management and Budget is stepping up its oversight of agencies' charge card programs to help end the abuse of federal purchase and travel cards by employees.

In an Oct. 15 memorandum, OMB Director Mitch Daniels told agency heads to start submitting quarterly progress reports on their efforts to overhaul their charge card programs. The first reports are due to OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy on Jan. 15 and will cover October through December.

The 1998 Travel and Transportation Reform Act requires federal employees to use government charge cards, instead of personal credit cards, for travel expenses. Purchase cards allow officials to charge up to $2,500 without going through the paperwork required for major acquisitions. In fiscal 2001, Defense Department employees put $6.1 billion on purchase cards and another $3.4 billion on travel cards.

The OMB memo builds on an April 2002 directive from Daniels that told agencies to develop and implement plans to reduce fraud, misuse and abuse in their purchase and travel card programs. Those plans were due to OMB on June 1.

In the memo, Daniels described the success of some agencies in revamping their purchase and travel card programs. He pointed to wage garnishments and 400,000 account closures at the Defense Department, the government's worst offender, according to lawmakers. Daniels also praised Defense and a few other agencies for reducing delinquent accounts. But despite these success stories, agencies have not made enough progress in stanching abuse governmentwide, Daniels said.

"Despite these gains, progress is uneven and isolated," the director wrote. "All agencies should be implementing these types of remedial actions."

OMB has formed an interagency task force to identify best practices for reducing charge card abuse and fraud. Its full recommendations are pending. The group pointed out some effective initiatives at the Defense and Education departments to reduce charge card abuse, including data-mining for suspect transactions, more account reviews and blocking cardholders' access to certain merchants.

"Agencies should continue to take disciplinary actions and make appropriate civil and criminal referrals for employees who violate the public trust," Daniels said. "We will monitor agencies' progress as the 2004 budget is constructed."

At a recent hearing a House lawmaker asked the General Accounting Office to investigate vendor fraud in the federal purchase and travel card programs.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.