This occurred in cities you’d suspect like Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and at such establishments as Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club, over a one-year period from July 2013 through June 2014.
Of the many audit recommendations, the Defense Travel Management Office agreed with the IG that Citibank, the card vendor, should block use at such places.
But, as first reported by GovExec, the American Gaming Association and The Association of Club Executives (those would be “adult” clubs) hope the Pentagon reconsiders. After all, casinos and strip clubs are prime locales for business outings.
“A policy that prohibits the use of government credit cards at casinos would reflect a gross misunderstanding of casinos, which consist of much more than the gaming floor itself, and would ignore the many legitimate business-related expenses incurred at gaming facilities,” Geoff Freeman, president and chief executive of the American Gaming Association, wrote in a May 21 letter to the Pentagon’s travel office and inspector general.
He wondered whether it would be a blanket ban or whether there would be exemptions for hotels, restaurants and retail shops that are part of a casino.
The charges made to the cards were paid by the employee personally and not charged to the taxpayer, according to Pentagon IG spokeswoman Bridget Serchak. But rules are that employees mustn’t use the government cards for personal use.
The Association of Club Executives also told GovExec that a blanket ban would infringe on federal workers’ constitutional right to go to strip clubs.
“We trust the people who serve our country to exercise the Constitutional rights of freedom and privacy they work so hard to protect for the rest of us,” ACE national executive director Angelina Spencer said. “We also respect their right to pursue a moment of happiness in the type of entertainment they choose, whether it’s a martini, a good cigar, bearing arms or bare arms.”
We’d never considered strip clubs as a Second Amendment freedom. Who knew?