Administration to order agencies to set limits on purchase cards

Fewer people in the federal government will be able to utter the words "charge it" in the coming months. That's because the Office of Management and Budget will soon set limits on the number of purchase cards agencies can issue to employees.

Angela Styles, OMB administrator for federal procurement policy, called the number of purchase cards currently floating around the government "unacceptable" during a Jan. 30 briefing. At some agencies, she said, one out of every four employees has a purchase card. By comparison, OMB has three cards for 500 employees.

"If more than 25 percent of your employees have purchase cards, then there is clearly a problem," she said.

The limits, which could be announced as early as next month, would apply governmentwide. OMB will make exceptions only in rare cases, Styles said.

OMB Director Mitch Daniels said the total number of cards issued could be reduced by at least 10 percent.

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

The General Accounting Office, members of Congress and others have called attention to significant abuses in charge card oversight. For instance, audits have found that Defense employees used charge cards to pay for prostitutes, lap dances, golf outings, clothes, compact discs, leather goods, jewelry, flowers, food and other unauthorized purchases and services.

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.