Hard on the heels of a report about major misuse of EPA-issued credit cards is a report from another inspector general who found serious abuses with "travel" cards used by Postal Service employees. Who knew that the cash-strapped USPS could actually afford to send its employees on junkets?
At least that's what those official trips turned out to be for the employees who used their plastic travel cards to get cash to hit the casinos, and to pay for other personal expenses.
Indeed, one employee used the card to withdraw $32,000 to gamble, according to the investigation. No information on how her luck was running, but the figure doesn't seem encouraging. Nevertheless, she was able to repay that amount.
The Washington Examiner, which did an extensive review of background documentation for the IG report obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, cited cases in which travel plastic was used to pay for bowling, air-conditioning, truck repair, and food and hotels unrelated to official business.
One postal official received $9,400 for mileage to review operations at 96 post offices in North Carolina. But no supporting data were on file to show that the trip actually took place, the Examiner reported.
Apparently some of the employees used travel cards as a quick loan service when they ran short, then repaid the Postal Service at their leisure.
At least some of the abuses were followed by demotions, forced retirements and firings.
In some instances, the agency would have been justified in filing criminal charges just to show how serious it is about flagrant abuses at a quasi-government agency that continues to struggle against going broke.