Department of Homeland Security’s employees went out of their way to make sure Americans are safe. In fact, they went all the way to Starbucks, spending $30,000 on designer coffee and other Starbucks Coffee products in one year.
The DHS policy considers such items being bought with at the taxpayers’ expense “micropurchases,” as long as they cost less than $3,000. The agency uses this designation to avoid disclosing or detailing the purchases to the public. In 2013, federal government has spent at least $20 billion in taxpayer moneyon items and services that it is permitted to keep secret from the public, according to an investigation by the News4 I-Team.
Some of the agency’s purchases appear to have been intentionally tailored not to cross over that threshold. For example, on April 22, 2013, DHS spent $2,491 at the Starbucks store in Alameda, California. On May 9, 2013, DHS spent $2,498.05 at the same store. On December 11, 2013, DHS employee(s) returned again and spent $2,688.95, courtesy of American taxpayers. That’s about 757 Grande Lattes, or 26 gift cards of $100 each, purchased in one day. Using government purchasing cards, DHS bought plenty of Starbucks — not only in the United States, but also in foreign countries.
After reviewing these findings, Rep. John Mica (R-FL), chair of a U.S House Oversight subcommittee said, “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.” Anne Richards, DHS auditor, told Mica and committee members, “Most of the purchases seem to be legitimate use of the cards.”
Coffee made at the office or a simple cup of java from the local 7/11 store might work for mere mortals, but brave defenders of the Homeland aren’t satisfied with anything less than designer coffee drinks. DHS employees could definitely afford to buy their own caffeinated beverages, with federal government salaries ranging from $50,287 to $129,517, plus overtime and benefits. From California to Kuwait and Bahrain, Department of Homeland Security is having coffee in style, at your expense.