The next time you ponder the defense budget, consider, beyond that they pay a ridiculous sum for things like toilet seats and hammers, that the people who get the DOD company credit card have some really fun weekends without you. Demand, as a taxpayer, that the next time they ask for a budget increase, or whine in front of a Joint Committee that they’re going to have to force the brass sections of their marching bands to busk for cash in Dupont Circle, that they could have just avoided these problems by paying for their strippers with their own cold, hard cash.
According to Judicial Watch documents released today, the DOD has spent millions over the last several years in casinos, strip clubs and other exotic locales, as persons holding DOD corporate credit cards have used them to make personal — sometimes very personal — charges.
In the latest of many flagrant examples of how tax dollars are wasted, government-issued credit cards were used by Department of Defense (DOD) employees to make more than $4 million in personal charges, including at casinos and strip clubs.
During a one-year period the agency charged 20 million transactions for $3.4 billion on government credit cards, according to a DOD Inspector General report issued this month. About $3.2 million of it was spent at casinos and nearly $1 million on personal expenses, including about $100,000 at strip clubs by 646 card holders. The casino charges were made through 4,437 transactions by 2,636 charge card holders, according to the report which breaks down expenditures by military branch.
The U.S. Air Force is by far the biggest offender, outspending other branches and civilian DOD employees with government-issued credit cards. In the year analyzed by investigators, the Air Force charged more than $400,000 in personal expenses at casinos and nearly $40,000 at strip clubs. The Army came in second by spending almost $350,000 at casinos during the same period and nearly $35,000 at “adult entertainment establishments.”
The main culprits are a sailor who racked up a major bill during a trip to El Paso, Texas, which is kind of understandable because, other than drinking and watching people take their clothes off, there’s not much to do in El Paso, Texas. The other is an Air Force airman who took a jaunt to Las Vegas and blew nearly $5,000 at Sapphire Gentleman’s Club, “Las Vegas’s largest gentleman’s club.” Before the bank declined his charges, he spent $4,686 on drinks, food and some friendly chatter in the VIP room.
If you’re wondering if the DOD has, like many companies, a prohibition against these types of “personal expenses,” well, it doesn’t. In fact, the DOD watchdog investigation that prompted this story says that, while this kind of improper spending is peanuts compared to what the DOD wastes on things like spare helicopter parts for helicopters that haven’t flown in the fleet since the 1970s, a simple “no strippers” policy could go a long way towards saving the DOD six figures a year, which it could then spend on whatever toilet seats it pleased.