The U.S. Army pays for lapdances.
July 18, 2002 7:25 AM   Subscribe

The U.S. Army pays for lapdances. "In addition to the inappropriate purchases, the GAO said more than 1,200 Army employees wrote bad checks to pay their government credit card bills. Last year alone, that cost taxpayers $3.8 million in higher fees and lost rebates." You mean, the government practices bad accounting? Ron Paul points out that the Congress commits the worst accounting fraud of all. But the most important issue of all is, with the government paying for Strip Club tips, gambling, and wine, does this mean that God will no longer bless America?
posted by insomnyuk (18 comments total)
"The government and the military have got to bear some burden for this, because God will not be mocked. I really believe, the senators, the congressmen, the generals, the soldiers, all of them who go to strip clubs and casinos, I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'"
posted by RylandDotNet at 7:30 AM on July 18, 2002

or, if you work for the Department of Defense, you can use your government credit card to pay for your courtship of a Hooter's waitress and then help her out with her breast augmentation surgery.
posted by witchstone at 7:35 AM on July 18, 2002

Also, if you are suddenly much more interested in becoming an Army of One, you can sign up here.
posted by insomnyuk at 7:36 AM on July 18, 2002

God should love it--he's the ultimate creditor. Heaven is bought on time, and we all go bankrupt in the end.
posted by rushmc at 8:23 AM on July 18, 2002

People in the private sector pay for lapdances all the time. The fact that we're even talking about this suggests to me that the public sector is far more accountable than the private sector.
posted by electro at 10:07 AM on July 18, 2002

"The fact that we're even talking about this suggests to me that the public sector is far more accountable than the private sector."

The public sector is supposed to be accountable to the public, as it is, in a sense, owned by the public. The private sector (meaning everything else) is accountable in many different ways. You can't really compare modes and methods of accountability unless you are being more specific, and your argument about lapdances doesn't follow. It is legally acceptable for a private citizen to pay for a lapdance, and it is not acceptable for a private citizen to use public funds to do so.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:20 AM on July 18, 2002

Electro: The cards for purchasing equipment are billed directly to the Pentagon. The travel cards are billed to the employees, who are reimbursed for their expenses.

The problem is not that some army personnel are buying lapdances. The problem is that they're using government funds to pay for them.

If my taxes are paying for lapdances, I want my share.
posted by ook at 11:37 AM on July 18, 2002

air force one just flew over my house. i stuck out my thumb, but they wouldnt stop.
posted by clavdivs at 11:39 AM on July 18, 2002

I'm not saying they were right to charge those lap dances. I'm saying that the fact that we even know about it indicates that we demand and receive (and rightfully so) a much higher level of accountability from our government than from the private sector.

For example, I own shares of Proctor and Gamble. If the P&G marketing department is using their entertainment budget (i.e. my money) to buy lap dances, how would I even know about it?
posted by electro at 1:32 PM on July 18, 2002

Just to clarify: I'm trying to refute Rep. Paul assertion that there's no accountability in the government budget, not defending the Army pissing away my money at strip clubs.
posted by electro at 1:36 PM on July 18, 2002

That's an interesting point electro, and I wouldn't know how you would find out such a thing about P&G, but I'm sure if you really wanted to, you might be able to find a way. The reason we know about the government screw ups is because of a different government agency (the General Accounting Office, they do good work). You would probably need to hire a private accounting firm to audit the company's books thoroughly. Although, as long as P&G is making you a profit, your incentive to do so is decidedly low.
posted by insomnyuk at 1:58 PM on July 18, 2002

For what it's worth, the Army didn't pay for any of that stuff.

Here's the deal -- the credit card company (Bank of America) issues the cards. Soldiers use the cards and pay BofA back when they get their travel pay. If the soldiers don't pay back BofA, the government does NOT make up the difference.

We spend a ridiculous amount of time in my office forcing soldiers to pay their travel card bills, and if they can't, then it comes out of their pay. But the Army never picks up the tab -- we had a guy go deserter a few months back with over $800 still on his card, and BofA had to eat it, unless they can ever find him.
posted by stankow at 2:00 PM on July 18, 2002

stankow: you're right, but they should be using a voucher system, not giving horny recruits government issue credit cards (one of the reasons being the gov't gets a kickback from each transaction made on the cards, so they force people to use them).

That way, people have to spend their money knowing that if they put it on the voucher, and its a bogus claim, they are less likely to be re-imbursed. If the G.I. or civilian employee puts the lapdance on his personal credit card, he will think twice before listing it as a travel expense.
posted by insomnyuk at 2:07 PM on July 18, 2002

Not quite sure what you mean by "vouchers," insomnyuk. Travel card holders have to file for their travel pay anyway, and "cash" is pretty hard to justify without receipts for legitimate mission-related expenses.
posted by stankow at 4:06 PM on July 18, 2002

I'm referring to the travel vouchers people (at least in the USAF) file at the end of a trip("receipts for legitimate mission-related expenses.") to recoup expenditures. I know folks in the Air Force often use their own credit card for mission-related expenses and then get re-imbursed later, I think, except for special cases, this is how it should be across the board.

The problem with government issued credit cards is, if DoD can't get the employee to pay up, the DoD gets stuck with the cost, along with added fees and hassle. They should be handed out much more sparingly for travel, if at all.
posted by insomnyuk at 4:21 PM on July 18, 2002

There is a flip side to this coin: the thousands of honest military folks who have suffered because they are told they must use their government card, and whose personal credit history gets "dinged" because slow government reimbursement of expenses caused them to make late payments. The military discourages use of personal credit cards to avoid conflicts of interest (i.e. it isn't ethical to get frequent flyer miles for tickets bought for gov. travel.)
posted by mcchesnj at 5:49 PM on July 18, 2002

Actually, they recently changed that rule, mcchesnj. As of... I forget, but it was within the last year or so. The government finally realized that it wasn't doing anything with the miles, so it lets you accrue them now.

And insomnyuk, that's how the Army does it, too. The only difference is that we have to use the travel card. And no, DOD doesn't pay the difference. Bank of America eats it if the soldier doesn't pay. They came within a whisker of suspending all cards a few months back because of all the defaults.
posted by stankow at 7:11 PM on July 18, 2002

Jeez, people, these soldiers who protect your ass certainly deserve a lap dance or two. Lay off 'em.
posted by fried at 8:45 PM on July 18, 2002

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