Senior Officials Were Taking Personal Trips on Government Aircraft and Not Reporting It

Laralova/Shutterstock.com

Senior personnel at intelligence agencies have not reported their use of official government aircraft, a breach of executive branch requirements, according to a new audit.

The General Services Administration should not collect data on use of aircraft in classified missions, the Government Accountability Office found, but should require more reporting from intelligence agencies in general. Tracking the information -- which includes travelers, the official purpose of the trip and the destination -- helps avoid spending “hard-earned tax dollars in ways that may appear to be improper,” according to guidance from the Office of Management and Budget that established the reporting requirement.

The report also found GSA did not clearly state -- and could not even identify -- which agencies were considered exempt from reporting when their senior officials use government aircraft.

When agencies do not report to GSA, they must keep their travel records on file for two years, which allowed GAO to investigate travel at the Justice Department. A previous GAO report identified 395 non-mission flights taken by then-FBI Director Robert Mueller, Attorney General Eric Holder and other Justice officials between fiscal years 2009 through 2011 that were not reported to GSA, costing nearly $8 million.

Federal regulations stipulate the AG must use Justice aircraft for all flights, including personal trips, for safety and communication reasons. The FBI Director now faces the same mandate, but the rule did not apply to the position until 2011.

GSA offered no explanation for why it interpreted the reporting requirements in a manner inconsistent with federal statute, GAO said. The auditors recommended GSA either identify “an adequate way for the intelligence agency reporting exemption or removing the exemption from its regulation if an adequate basis cannot be identified.” GAO also instructed GSA to clearly state in its senior officials travel report when it was omitting classified information.

Officials at GSA said they would no longer allow agencies to withhold unclassified travel information, which GAO said would bring the reports up to code. 

(Image via Laralova/Shutterstock.com)

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:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

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