Friday, July 21, 2006
Coast Guard admiral swallows cost of controversial beer brewing kit
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- This round is on the admiral. The superintendent of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy has reimbursed the U.S. Treasury $227.23 from his own pocket after government auditors complained that the academy inappropriately spent government money on a beer brewing kit.

Coast Guard officials originally sought to defend the purchase, giving auditors a detailed financial spreadsheet purporting to show the brew kit saved the government money.

But late this week, in an apparent effort to get beyond the matter, the academy's superintendent, Adm. James C. Van Sice, reimbursed the government for the cost of the brew kit, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.

In a brief written statement, the Coast Guard said that the purchase -- while technically legal -- "did not represent a prudent use of appropriate funds."

The home brewing kit was one of many examples the Government Accountability Office (GAO)highlighted Wednesday during a hearing on misuses of Department of Homeland Security "purchase cards." Other examples include $68,000 spent on dog booties, $7,000 spent by the U.S. Secret Service on iPods, and nearly $8,000 spent on a 63-inch plasma-screen television.
Posted By Jeanne Meserve and Mike Ahlers, CNN America Bureau: 7/21/2006 06:34:00 PM ET | Permalink
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