LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska governor’s office and Department of Administrative Services have barred state workers from accepting rebates, rewards or promotional items when using state purchasing cards unless it’s for appropriate agency or department business.

The change comes in response to a state auditor’s report that blew the whistle on state employees who had been pocketing rewards and rebates, KETV-TV reported .

Agencies use purchasing cards like credit cards. The audit found that five Nebraska Game and Parks employees and one Department of Corrections employee redeemed almost $3,400 in rebates that were earned from government purchases on the cards last year. Employees purchased gas grills, beach chairs and a dollhouse through the rebates, according to the report.

“The people were taking that money back and using the 11 percent rebate for personal use,” said State Auditor Charlie Janssen.

The report also found that of the nearly 470 employees who use the cards at Menards, almost 180 had a rebate sent to their home.

“There’s probably more than what we looked at,” Janssen said.

The state should also look into having similar policies banning the use of frequent-flier miles and hotel points on trips funded by the state for personal use, he said.

The audit also found that three people held cards despite not being full-time state employees, some cards weren’t immediately cancelled after employees left an agency and $24,000 in sales tax hasn’t been paid.

Information from: KETV-TV,

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