A $9,000 upgrade to first class sounds like an arrangement made for a corporate CEO or executive. In fact it was for a government worker.

That’s according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General of the Commerce Department, which audited the federal agency’s travel log for a 17-month period from late 2012 to early 2014. For 2013, Commerce workers booked 226 premium-class travel flights totaling $807,946, while in 2014, they booked 157 flights for a total of $683,607. Government employees racked up an extra $1 million in tax dollars to fly first class and at least half of those upgrades were not justified.

By unjustified, it means employees submitted records that were outdated, incomplete or inaccurate and mad arrangements that were to their benefit or comfort rather than cost.

Among the reasons premium travel is permissible:  no coach seats are available, the flight is longer than 14 hours, or if the traveler has certain medical conditions. On the last reason the IG found that the department relied on outdated or incomplete medical documentation.

This is another example of how government bureaucrats use public funds as their own which does nothing to inspire trust among the public.

CNBC reports:

In response, the Department of Commerce said it is looking to revise its handbook—something that all companies should consider, said Tim Hird, executive director for Robert Half Management Resources, which consults with white-collar firms on managing high-level professionals.

Indeed, government employees are not the only ones guilty of business expenses bordering the unscrupulous. A Robert Half study of 1,600 financial executives found items such as kids' birthday gifts, adult movies, family vacations, pet food and even a tepee on expense reports.

Of course, it's not the first, or most severe, time that government employees have been caught behaving badly.

Three years ago, General Services Administration (GSA) employees were under fire for a conference in Las Vegas that cost $823,000 in tax dollars. GSA head Martha Johnson resigned and eight employees were placed on administrative leave after the 2010 incident came to light.

Since then, the many government agencies have made moves toward transparency, embracing initiatives like "Yelp for Government," where users can review government agencies.

"The vast majority of federal employees are honest, hard-working people who want to be good stewards of American taxpayers' dollars," North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, a Republican, said of the hearing in a statement. "But there is great frustration when bad actors are not punished and ongoing remain unaddressed."

Sadly, government workers abusing public resources is not new. Just recently we covered workers who were caught stealing free and reduced lunches from needy kids and those using their government emails to set up cheating trysts on Ashley Madison website. And for those who have customer service qualms with federal agencies, you can take it to Yelp and perhaps get answers. But, its mind boggling how little is ever done to address their misdeeds or how little ink their misbehavior receives.

A deterrent to this behavior would be to set up rules that hold workers who can’t demonstrate a valid purpose for booking expensive tickets accountable by requiring them to back the difference between an average ticket and their first class seats.

To be clear, flying in first class is a wonderful experience. If government workers want to fly first class while on the job, they absolutely should – at their own expense.