Homeland Security credit cards used to spend $30K at Starbucks

Documents reveal U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees spent $30,000 at Starbucks in 2013, including $12,000 at one California location.

By Danielle Haynes

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Employees with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security spent some $30,000 on food and items at Starbucks in 2013 using government-issued credit cards, an investigative report revealed.

The agency spent $12,000 of that money at one Starbucks alone located in Alameda, Calif., the documents, which were acquired through the Freedom of Information Act by NBC Washington, revealed.


The documents, which include information about so-called "micrpurchases," were the subject of a House Oversight hearing last month to investigate why federal employees are using government-issued credit cards for personal purchases like movie tickets and hair cuts.

"When you have $10,000 being spent at one Starbucks by DHS employees in one city in six months, someone is abusing the purchasing permission that we have given them," said U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chair of the U.S. House Oversight subcommittee.

Micropurchases are purchases made by federal employees less than $3,000. These purchases are not made public and are only revealed to internal government reviewers and through Freedom of Information Act requests.

The federal government spent at least $20 billion on purchases it's allowed to keep hidden from the public in 2013.


"Most of the purchases seem to be legitimate use of the cards," said Anne Richards, an agency auditor. "We will be looking at all of those purchases. And as part of our audit ... we will be looking at the types of purchases in which coffee shops jump out at you."

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