BLM employees spent nearly $800K of taxpayers’ money on gift cards

BLM employees spent nearly $800K of taxpayers’ money on gift cards

[Ed. – Hey, they could have paid off most of Cliven Bundy’s grazing fee penalties with that.]

Wildfire management employees at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) used government charge cards to by $799,000 worth of gift cards from vendors such as REI, American Express, FredMeyer and Visa, according to a report released Sept. 30 by the Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General.

When investigators requested supporting documentation such as purchase orders, receipts, and authorizing signatures, BLM staff claimed that they were “missing,” according to the report. …

In 2010, BLM conducted an agency-wide audit of the purchase card program. Auditors traced $70,000 of the undocumented purchases to the Idaho State Office, where one employee was found to have purchased personal items and gift cards totalling  $41,276.33.

In May 2011, the investigation resulted in the suspension of BLM employee Maria Gilbert’s government credit card.  On Sept. 13, 2013 Gilbert was charged with one count of theft of government funds between 2007 and 2011, to which she pleaded guilty. …

However, the remaining $757,723.67 of undocumented gift card purchases was not accounted for in the IG report. …

It was also discovered that at least one employee in the BLM’s Southern Nevada District charged time to a fire nearly nine months after the blaze had been put out. In another incident, $3,200 of janitorial services was charged by Carson City District employees to “fire suppression” of several different fires that occurred in another state.

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