Lingerie, gambling, Internet dating services, and a $13,000 steak-and-liquor dinner

What do all of the above items have in common?  If you are a taxpayer, your helped pay for them, says a Washington Post article.  The charges for those items all came from government employees using credit cards.

So it isn’t just Irwindale politicians and local water boards using taxpayer funds for questionable expenses… the federal government does it as well.

The lingerie is really the most bizarre expense on there…. I believe most Americans don’t realize that American State Department employees are in Ecuador running drug enforcement operations, but I am sure that until today nobody would have thought they were doing it wearing expensive women’s underwear:

In another case at the State Department, a cardholder spent $360 at the Seduccion Boutique in Ecuador
to buy “women’s underwear/lingerie for use during jungle training by
trainees of a drug enforcement program.” The report does not include
further details, but it says a State Department official “agreed that
the charge was questionable.”

The 300,000 employees with government credit cards remind me of something L.A. District Attorney Dave Demerjian told me for a story on former Baldwin Park  Councilman  William Van Cleave’s misuse of a city credit card

“When I speak to public officials, I always say that giving badges and credit cards to city councilmen is like giving
a cell phone to a teenage girl,” said Demerjian.”

So what is the solution… hmm, let me think about how we do it here on the newsroom.  We pay for expenses out of our own pockets, put it on an expense form, and then our supervisors look at it to see if it is an appropriate use of funds.  If it is, they pay for it.  I guess if the supervisor is the one buying the liquor and underwear the system doesn’t work quite as well though. 

In other national news, the Justice Department no longer takes corporate wrong-doers to court.

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