Senator Collins issues misleading statement on USPS credit card abuse

The Washington Post quotes a statement by Senator Susan Collins on today’s OIG report on problems with the USPS’s travel reimbursement program. Collins’ statement contains a couple of incorrect and misleading assertions.

To start with, Collins says “It is very frustrating that an organization that was $8.5 billion in the hole last year, has not adopted a frugal culture.”

Collins fails to note that $5.5 billion of that deficit was her own doing- that’s the amount the USPS was required, by Collins’ 2006 PAEA law, to pay into its already overfunded future retiree health benefits trust fund.

Collins goes on to say : “I am alarmed that at various levels of approval, no one at the Postal Service balked at the purchase of airline tickets to Spain and Italy, the purchase of an Apple computer, or more than 50 charges at adult entertainment establishments. It is unconscionable that these charges were rung up and the bill sent to the American taxpayers.”

What’s truly unbelievable is that a Senator who claims to be the architect of postal reform doesn’t understand the basic concept that the US Postal Service is NOT financed by the “American taxpayers”. More to the point though, Collins doesn’t understand that the improper charges she mentions were never billed to anyone except the people holding the credit cards. The OIG report dealt with government travel cards. While these cards are meant to be used only for official travel, they are personal credit card accounts. The individuals holding the cards are solely responsible for paying any charges made with them- not the federal government, and not the US Postal Service.

Update: I neglected to note that the Washington Post headline is also incorrect. “Postal workers expensed private travel and ‘adult entertainment'” suggests that the USPS was paid for those inappropriate purchases. The OIG report doesn’t say that- it says travel cards were used to make those purchases. As explained above, the employee, not the USPS, is responsible for paying those charges.

via Federal Eye – Report: Postal workers expensed private travel and ‘adult entertainment’.

  • Don Quixote

    She’s been clueless up to this point. Why do you assume she suddenly will be knowledgable?

  • Bigwheel

    These are the kinds of lies that have been told and re-told by republicans until the public believes them.

  • Payola

    She’s a liar? Well hell, she’s got all the qualifications to be in postal management.

  • labman

    Her and Mc Cain must be dating, two idiots who are going on in life with out a clue what is really happening.

  • postal worker

    She may be off on some of her statements but dead on with the problems she’s talking about. The new and improved travel site is ripe for picking, I just had an employee apply for and approve over 10 k in non travel, nobody is looking at the actual expense, the program is the problem. I gave this to the IG’s when it came out, they can’t catch a cold.

  • Pelosi

    Guess how much I spent going back and forth to see my constituents whenever I felt like it!

  • Fatboy

    As ignorant and ridiculous as she sounds I have to say that the people of Maine must really be slow if they voted for this bimbo.

    To be fair though our employees should not be using those cards for anything except travel even if they are paying it themselves. It’s a perception issue. It’s like showing the strip club you badge befroe you enter. Use some common sense people.

  • OG

    Last month Sen. Collins paid $705,000 for a house that was valued at $235,000 – PAID BY THE TAXPAYERS!!!


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  • Greg Sheeler

    What did you expect from?

  • OG

    What? WaPo cleans up Collins’ inaccurate comments? Oh, okay, I retract my previous post. 🙂