A top official in former President Barack Obama’s administration allegedly used fictitious names and impersonations to steal taxpayer funds for personal use and misused his government-issued credit card to fund his lavish lifestyle.
According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Commerce into the government’s misuse of funds last year, Vikrum Aiyer, a former senior adviser on Obama’s White House National Economic Council, used taxpayer funds for 130 taxi rides – which is against agency rules – and racked up just over $15,000 in unauthorized purchases on his government-issued credit card.
While working at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Aiyer was the “political appointee” identified in the Inspector General’s report who used taxpayer funds for personal use.
Aiyer was identified when investigators noticed the documentation he submitted for his unauthorized cab rides said “another Agency employee as the passenger,” and he used “fictitious names or the names of former employees” to conceal his identity and role in the unethical – and possibly illegal – behaviors.
The OIG determined that Aiyer knowingly misled the government.
“The evidence … establishes that Political Appointee knowingly used the Agency’s Cab Company account for impermissible purposes on a routine basis and that he took steps to conceal his unauthorized use of this account by providing false names and false location information,” investigators for Commerce Department Inspector General Peggy Gustafson said.
After misusing taxpayer funds to get him whatever he wanted, Aiyer claimed he was sorry and said he wouldn’t let such behavior occur again.
“I . . . want to underscore how deeply apologetic I am for the air of irresponsibility I demonstrated. I know managing government finances is an incredibly serious undertaking, and possessing a government [credit] card demands the utmost responsibility,” Aiyer said. “I want to assure you I’ve taken steps …to…never make any such missteps again.”
The Daily Caller reports he was paid between $134,662 to $160,000 as a senior executive until the end of 2016, so he wasn’t a destitute having a hard time.
He knowingly lied, broke the law, and abused his power to stick his bills to American taxpayers.
He resigned from the agency in January 2017 after the OIG began its investigation, but now we are aware that such behavior was apparently rampant in Obama’s administration given a slew of other top officials have been exposed for corruption.