Report: Fraudulent use of FAA charge cards rampant

The General Accounting Office Wednesday released a scathing report of its investigation into alleged abuses of government charge cards by Federal Aviation Administration employees, finding that federal employees "improperly" spent $5.4 million in federal funds on a variety of items, including Wal-Mart gift cards and expensive crystal.

Congressional investigators also cited FAA for $630,000 in purchases "considered wasteful because of excessive cost, questionable government need, or lack of documentation to determine the appropriateness of the purchase," according to the report. GAO called on FAA to implement a host of management reforms to provide tighter control over use of agency money.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young, R-Alaska, slammed FAA, charging the administration must put in place better controls to avoid abuses of federal funds.

"I do not consider gift cards to Wal-Mart and Waterford crystal to fall within the realm of legitimate government spending. FAA needs to establish better purchasing controls and enforcement of controls when violations occur so that FAA funds are more wisely and properly spent," Young said in a statement.

FAA Administrator Marion Blakey is scheduled to testify before Young's committee on reauthorization of FAA and will almost certainly face an intense grilling from panel members.

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