The audit was a review of the credit card system, and not an investigation into abuses, therefore the findings will likely only lead to warnings or stern reminders being issued to employees.
The findings will be released to the public by the Department of Defense Inspector General in the coming weeks.
A law enacted in 2012 — the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act — states that federal employees who make illegal or improper purchases on government issued credit cards can be terminated from their positions. The guidelines also state that agencies must submit a report outlining the violations as well as what disciplinary actions were taken in regards to the infractions at least twice a year.
This stern stance on misuse came after estimates of prohibited purchases suggested the spending may be hundreds of millions of dollars per year.
"This bill is about accountability," Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) who proposed the legislation said in a statement after the bill passed. "The public trust has been violated by abusive use of government charge cards. By putting some common-sense controls into the law, we can make certain the federal bureaucracy improves the way it responsibly manages the use of these cards."
“The lack of adequate management has led to the waste of millions of dollars in taxpayer money on fraudulent, questionable or unnecessarily expensive purchases,” the bill reads on the need for legislation. “For example, one cardholder used the purchase card program to embezzle over $642,000 over a period of six years from the Department of Agriculture.”
The Government Accountability Office also provided several examples of extreme abuse, including the USPS paying over $13,000 for a five hour long dinner with a $3,000 bar tab and steak dinners costing $160 per person.