IRS Officials Could Face Charges for Buying Porn With Government Credit Cards

Wacky charges billed to taxpayers include kazoos, bathtub toy boats and Thomas the Tank Engine wristbands.

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Two IRS employees may have used government credit cards to make purchases "from merchants affiliated with online pornography," according to a report released by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

David Barnes, the inspector general's public affairs liaison, confirmed to U.S. News that crimes may have been committed. He was unable to provide additional details, saying the inspector general's Office of Investigations is reviewing the case.

"Each of these cardholders reported their card stolen or compromised, one on multiple occasions, and had the charge for pornography credited to the purchase card account," according to the report, dated June 20. "In the case of both of the pornography charges, the cardholders did not inform TIGTA of the fraudulent purchases on their accounts as required."

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The document cautions that the two cardholders - one of whom no longer works at the IRS - have not definitively been found guilty of purchasing the pornography before falsely reporting a stolen card.

"[B]oth of these former cardholders had multiple purchase card accounts during the time that they were cardholders, and one of these cardholders had a total of seven purchase card accounts, five of which were closed and reported by the employee as being lost, stolen, or counterfeit," says the report.

The IRS does not record the number of cards closed because they were purportedly stolen, lost or otherwise compromised, the report says. According to the inspector general's office, 5,241 purchase card accounts were open at the IRS during the two-year timeframe probed by investigators. IRS cardholders made 234,000 purchases totaling $103.2 million during that time.

Cards are supposed to be used for government-related purchases only.

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In addition to the two randy cardholders, the report notes that another cardholder spent $2,655 on 38 transactions, buying "diet pills, romance novels, steaks, a smart phone, and baby-related items such as bottles, games, and clothing."

It's unclear if the apparent shopaholic was charged with a crime. Earlier this year former IRS employee Yetunde Oseni was charged with embezzlement for spending $8,515 on herself with a government MasterCard, The Smoking Gun reported.

Other improper charges included "kazoos, bathtub toy boats, and Thomas the Tank Engine rubber wristbands," as well as nerf footballs and the "world's largest crossword puzzle."

Extravagant, but apparently above-board purchases by IRS officials included a dinner billed to taxpayers costing around $140 per guest and a lunch that cost $100 per person. The report covered the two fiscal years ending Sept. 30, 2011.

Read the report, publicly released June 25:

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