December 16, 2020
Required by the Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012
DOT Needs To Strengthen Travel Card Program Internal Controls To Minimize Misuse
What We Looked At
According to U.S. Bank, Department of Transportation (DOT) employees made more than 1.1 million travel card transactions—totaling $180 million—in calendar year 2019. In 2014, we reported on internal control weaknesses in the Department’s travel card program and found that excessive or unauthorized cash advances and instances of travel card misuse sometimes went undetected because DOT lacked robust internal controls to prevent these transactions. In addition, our annual charge card risk assessments disclosed areas that constitute risk to the Department’s charge card program such as outdated and incomplete policies, overdue travel card training, and a travel card account that remained active after a travel cardholder (TCH) separated from the Agency. As a result, we determined that another audit of this program was needed. Accordingly, our objective was to determine whether DOT’s internal controls for its travel card program are effectively designed and operating efficiently to prevent and detect travel card misuse and abuse.
What We Found
We identified internal control weaknesses that prohibit DOT from preventing or detecting the inappropriate use of travel cards. These weaknesses have resulted in TCHs not consistently following existing controls, increasing the risk of travel card misuse and abuse. Specifically, based on our findings for 71 of the 793 travel card transactions in our samples, TCHs did not always follow prescribed controls for an estimated $18.6 million in purchases. Furthermore, we found that TCHs did not use their Government travel cards to pay for $28 million in official travel related expenses, thus preventing DOT from receiving the total amount of rebates it would be eligible to receive.
We made 11 recommendations to assist DOT in increasing the effectiveness of its internal controls. DOT fully concurred with the all of our recommendations, and we consider them resolved but open pending completion of the planned actions.