By James Rosen
McClatchy Washington Bureau
May 19, 2015


The Pentagon is seen in this aerial view in Washington, in this March 27, 2008 photo. According to an audit released by the Pentagon’s internal watchdog, service members and other Pentagon employees used Defense Department credit cards for thousands of unauthorized transactions at casinos and strip clubs across the country.

WASHINGTON — Service members and other Pentagon employees used Defense Department credit cards for thousands of unauthorized transactions at casinos and strip clubs across the country, according to an audit released Tuesday by the Pentagon’s internal watchdog.

The report by the department’s Office of Inspector General found that misuse of the official credit cards was highest in the Air Force, followed by the Army, the Navy and the Marine Corps, for the one-year period investigated, July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014.

The locations where Defense Department credit cards were used for personal transactions included the VIP Room of the Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club and Vegas Showgirls in Las Vegas, Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club in Baltimore, and Dreams Cabaret in El Paso, Texas.

“DOD cardholders improperly used their government travel charge card for personal use at casinos and adult entertainment establishments,” Michael J. Roark, assistant inspector general for contract management and payments, wrote in the report.

The head of the Defense Travel Management Office acknowledged the abuses, but protested that they represent a tiny fraction of overall use of the Pentagon’s travel credit cards.

“The report language applies a very broad stroke against all cardholders when, in reality, personal use of the Government Travel Charge Card is negligible when compared to the size and scope of the program,” Harvey W. Johnson, the office director, responded in a letter provided along with the report.

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