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Another use for taxes: more legroom

Amy Scott Oct 3, 2007


Scott Jagow: I don’t begrudge anyone flying first class. If you or your company can afford it, it’s the way to go. But when tax dollars are being spent on more leg room and free drinks, then we could have a problem.

A Congressional report out this morning says government workers are routinely abusing the rules for first and business class tickets. It’s costing taxpayers $146 million a year. Marketplace’s Amy Scott has more.

Amy Scott: The Government Accountability Office looked at travel spending by more than a dozen federal agencies from July 2005 through June 2006. Investigators say 67 percent of premium-class travel during that period was either unauthorized or unjustified.

Mary Boyle is with the nonprofit watchdog Common Cause. She says she’s not surprised by the findings. A similar report four years ago exposed widespread abuses by the Defense Department.

Mary Boyle: It’s been a problem in the Pentagon, it has been a problem in the State Department also. So no, I wouldn’t say it’s a shock.

The report says even authorized travel adds up. One higher-up at the FDIC spent more than $7,000 to fly business class between Washington and London. A coach ticket would have cost 800 bucks.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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