04/16/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Audit Finds Widespread Abuse Of Govt Purchase Card

Federal employees used government credit cards to pay for lingerie, gambling, iPods, Internet dating services and a $13,000 steak-and-liquor dinner, according to a new audit from the Government Accountability Office, which found widespread abuses in a purchasing program meant to improve bureaucratic efficiency.

The study, released by Senate lawmakers this evening, found that nearly half the "purchase card" transactions it examined were improper, either because they were not authorized correctly or did not meet requirements for use of the cards. The overall rate of problems "is unacceptably high," the audit found.

The GAO also found that agencies could not account for nearly $2 million worth of items identified in the audit--including laptop computers, digital cameras and, at the Army, more than a dozen computer servers worth $100,000 each.

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