WASHINGTON, DC—In a story broken by The Washington Times, the Government Printing Office (GPO) has repaid the State Department more than $51 million stemming from overcharges from the sale of millions of blank passports. According to the Times, the repayment follows a six-month investigation by GPO Inspector General J. Anthony Ogden that reportedly revealed improper accounting practices by GPO financial managers, who allegedly attempted to conceal “excessive” profits generated from passport sales by raising overhead costs from 2007 to 2008, the paper said.
The paper cited that GPO officials and internal documents showed the money returned to the State Department includes $9.5 million, which exceeded the amount authorized by Congress for building a backup passport production facility in Mississippi. GPO was authorized by Congress to raise $41 million for the plant at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center. The agency spent only $31.5 million, according to the Times.
GPO estimates that it accrued as much as $180 million in profits by charging the State Department an added $1.83 per passport, the Times reported.