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.
The inspector general describes widespread misuse of government-issued charge cards at the agency, making the “purchase card program susceptible to fraud, waste, and abuse.”
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.