Most Americans don't know that thousands of federal employees are given government credit cards to make "micropurchases," which are any purchases under $3,000.
NBC Washington recently filed a Freedom of Information Act and reported that the U.S. government spent a staggering $20 billion on micropurchases in 2013.
Government employees' micropurchases were made without public accountability because U.S. agencies do not have to issue any itemized lists.
Employees of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security racked up $30,000 worth of micropurchases at Starbucks, reports NBC Washington. Other micropurchases include gym memberships and clothing from JC Penney.
“These purchases were made for various reasons, following standard purchase card policy and guidance," U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesman Sy Lee said in a statement.
"The Department of Homeland Security is required to follow the Federal Acquisition Regulation when using appropriated funds to purchase supplies or services on behalf of the federal government," added Lee. "To ensure accountability, all purchase card transactions are approved in accordance with DHS purchase card policy.”
According to The Washington Post, the Government Accountability Office found in 2008 that government employees made micropurchases for memberships on dating web sites, iPods and pricey meals.
Congress passed a law in 2012 to crack down on the waste.
“I don’t know the agency’s needs or contingencies, but going to Starbucks seems like a really hard sell,” Brian Miller, a former Inspector General for the U.S. General Services Administration, told NBC Washington.