Pentagon wasted $100M on Unused Airline Tickets

Pentagon waste and fraudThere are two angles to this case: one is the $100M in identified waste on unused (and often refundable) airline tickets; the other is $8M in fraud between 2001 and 2002, a figure the GAO says “represent[s] only a small portion of the potential fraud”. CNN has the full story in “Report: Pentagon wasted $100M on unused airline tickets”:

The GAO estimated that between 1997 and 2003, the Defense Department bought at least $100 million in tickets that were not used or used only partially by a passenger who did not complete all legs of a flight. The waste went undetected because the department relied on individuals to report the unused tickets. They did not do so.

[…]

While one GAO report focused on the unused tickets, the second investigation found potential fraud.

It said the department paid travelers for tickets the department already bought and reimbursed employees for tickets that had not been authorized.

[…]

Among the examples of potential fraud:

Within a nine-month period, an employee claimed reimbursement for 13 tickets paid for by the department, contending he did not know he received almost $10,000 more than he paid in travel expenses.

This can only be the tip of the iceberg. With a defense budget at nearly $600B, it’s no suprise that this kind of waste is going on, in fact I assumed it would be reported much higher. Veterans are having their share of the pie cut to the bone, while defense spending hits astronomical heights, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that what doesn’t get funneled out through private contracts is going to be looted by government employees.

Report: Pentagon wasted $100M on unused airline tickets [CNN]
The Defense Budget Is Bigger Than You Think [The Independent Institute]

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