Gov’t-Run Utility Plagued By ‘Waste, Fraud And Abuse,’ Senators Write

Sen. Jeff Flake

Sen. Jeff Flake

Arizona Republican Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake are demanding Energy Department investigators brief them on the agency’s investigation into “past reports of, and ongoing allegations of, waste, fraud and abuse” at a government-run utility.

The GOP senators sent a letter to DOE Tuesday asking the inspector general’s office about their review of the use of government purchase cards at the Desert Southwest Region (DSW) of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) — a government utility operating across 15 western states.

“In November 2015, an internal WAPA audit into the use of Government Purchase Cards (GPCs) revealed ineffective annual management reviews; inadequate oversight and monitoring at various levels; and ineffective or non-existent internal control activities,” Flake and McCain wrote.

“According to that internal audit, electronics, gift cards, vehicles, and other items were routinely purchased for the personal use of an employee,” they wrote. “It is unclear what, if any, employees and managers were held responsible for these actions.”

McCain and Flake even argue potential fraud within WAPA could be making electricity more expensive for customers, including those in Arizona.

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