Further proof that America couldn't be broke


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Audit Finds $16 Muffins at Justice Department Conferences

In these tough economic times when austerity and budget cuts are daily discussions in Washington, D.C., and on Main Street, the Justice Department didn’t seem to get the memo on spending for agency-sponsored conferences, including buying $16 muffins and $10 cookies, according to a new Justice Department Inspector General audit released Tuesday.
The cost may be tough to swallow considering an Inspector General audit from 2007 found that a DOJ-sponsored conference spent almost $5 per Swedish meatball.
The review found that DOJ employees attended or participated in 1,832 conferences with a total cost of $121 million in fiscal years 2008 and 2009. The Inspector General analyzed 10 specific conferences which cost $4.4 million.
The report revealed, “one conference served $16 muffins while another served Beef Wellington hors d’oeuvres that cost $7.32 per serving. Coffee and tea at the events cost between $0.62 and $1.03 an ounce. At the $1.03 per-ounce price, an 8-ounce cup of coffee would have cost $8.24.
“For event planning services, DOJ spent $600,000 (14 percent of costs) to hire training and technical assistance providers as external event planners for 5 of the 10 conferences reviewed. This was done without demonstrating that these firms offered the most cost effective logistical event planning services. Further, these event planners did not accurately track and report conference expenditures,” the audit noted.
The report highlights two examples where the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) spent over $32,000 in planning meetings in Palm Springs, Calif., for two conferences.
In another instance at an Office of Violence Against Women conference, “OVW conference attendees received Cracker Jacks, popcorn, and candy bars at a single break that cost $32 per person.
The $16 muffins were served at a conference hosted by the Executive Office for Immigration and Review (EOIR). “The EOIR spent $4,200 on 250 muffins and $2,880 on 300 cookies and brownies. By itemizing these costs, we determined that, with service and gratuity, muffins cost over $16 each and cookies and brownies cost almost $10 each,” the audit noted.
Although the nearly $5 meatball was revealed in the 2007 audit, and new guidelines were implemented in 2008, the Inspector General concluded, “DOJ components hosting conferences in FY 2008 and FY 2009 did not adequately attempt to minimize conference costs as required by federal and DOJ guidelines.”
The Inspector General’s report made 10 recommendations to cut conference expenditures. These include reviewing hotel service charges, logistical and salaries for conference workers, and conducting cost comparisons.
This is perhaps the most saddening one:
The report highlights two examples where the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) spent over $32,000 in planning meetings in Palm Springs, Calif., for two conferences.
The Office for Victims of Crime spent $32,000 on meetings instead of on VICTIMS OF CRIME. Nice. Who was it that said the government would collapse if there was a 10% flat tax? Gee, I Wonder why?

Because the government would collapse if they did that. The 10% crumb you'd get out of the lower shittums(and good luck even squeezing that out of them) wouldn't even come close to offsetting the massive hit in tax revenue you'd take when you cut 20-30% off of what the top earners are paying in taxes.


PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
This is why I'm against raising taxes. The money just goes to this bullshit. Show us you're responsible with money before coming with your hand out.
DOJ and DOD will be the last two to curb their spending. They feel more entitled than anyone.


Sounds like a good old fashioned tar and feathering is needed. Forthwith.


Registered User
So basically, somebody owns a cookie and muffin store got a contract to provide muffins to the DOD and DOJ. For a "political contribution" of course. AKA, BRIBE.
Wait, you mean it doesn't normally cost $16 for a muffin and $10 for a cookie? Sorta gives "good enough for government work" a whole new meaning.


I'm Biv Dick Black, the Over Poster.
You don't actually think they spend $20,000.00 on a hammer, $30,000.00 on a toilet seat do you?
Oh no thesese kids were right!



Registered User
You'd all be broke by now if it weren't for my David!
Hilarious. It is physically impossible not to read that line in his ultra-Jewy voice.
You don't actually think they spend $20,000.00 on a hammer, $30,000.00 on a toilet seat do you?
You do if your cousin owns a hammer factory and the president of the toilet seat factory donated to your campaign.

Use the Tiny Tiles—And Other Tales from the Stimulus
Stimulus theory vs. stimulus reality

Peter Suderman | September 14, 2011

Here’s how fiscal stimulus is supposed to work: The federal government injects a few hundred billion dollars into a sluggish economy through federal spending. That spending sparks additional consumer demand. And that additional demand drives new economic activity that results in a multiplier effect, in which a dollar of initial government spending creates more than a dollar of economic activity, spurring economic growth and job creation.

That was the basic stimulus theory, as explained by Lawrence Summers, who chairs President Obama’s National Economic Council, at the tail end of 2008. The story was convincing enough: In 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)—an $830 billion stimulus package—into law, promising “unprecedented transparency” in tracking how the money would be used and how many jobs it would create.

So how did the stimulus work in practice? Daniel Rothschild, a former researcher at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center who now works for the American Enterprise Institute, wanted to find out. Working with Mercatus Center economist Garett Jones between August and November of last year, he oversaw 50 hours of interviews with businesses and contractors that received and applied for stimulus funding. And what he found was that the on-the-ground reality of the stimulus was far messier than the simple theory behind it.

In his initial report, Rothschild relays an illustrative story about a contractor with 25 years of construction experience, much of it laying tile in government buildings. Heading into an otherwise typical job that he expected to account for about two percent of his annual income, the tile-layer made plans to install standard blocks of four-inch white tiles—the same tiles he usually installed, the same tiles found in other parts of the same office complex, and the exact materials called for in the architectural plans.

Then he got updated specs. The large white tiles were out. Tiny, colored tiles that needed to be laid in an intricate pattern were in. Did it matter that the smaller tiles would cost the government 50 percent more than the larger white tiles? Not at all. In fact, the higher cost may have been the point. The tile-layer told Rothschild’s interview team that “the only reason he could see for using the smaller tiles was to move the money out the door on the ARRA schedule.” So in exchange for their stimulus dollars, taxpayers got a government building with fancier floor tiling.

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
Taxpayers foot the bill for Justice Department’s $16 muffins

Taxpayers foot the bill for Justice Department’s $16 muffins

The Justice Department and several of its agencies engaged in “extravagant and wasteful” spending on food, beverages and event planning for law enforcement conferences, including paying $16 each for muffins, $76 per person for lunch and more than $8 for a cup of coffee, according to an audit released Tuesday by the department’s Office of Inspector General.

At one conference, a workshop on enhancing judicial skills, participants were served snacks of Cracker Jack, popcorn and candy during a break, costing $32 a person, and also were provided a “deluxe” ice cream assortment that cost $10 per person. The 166 people attending a separate conference of U.S. attorneys were fed beef Wellington appetizers at $7.32 per serving.

“Some conferences featured costly meals, refreshments and themed breaks that we believe were indicative of wasteful or extravagant spending,” said acting Inspector General Cynthia A. Schnedar. The report says the department “did not adequately attempt to minimize conference costs as required by federal and DOJ guidelines.”

The audit also is critical of money the Justice Department spent on event planners for some of the conferences, describing as an “unallowable cost” the hiring of a consultant in Anchorage, Alaska, to act as the liaison for a conference being held at a hotel in Palm Springs, Calif.

Because the consultant was based in Anchorage, the audit says, he had to travel the 2,400 miles to Palm Springs at least three times and subsequently billed the department $3,454 in travel costs. The audit also criticizes the $29,000 cost of travel, lodging and food and beverages for a face-to-face meeting in Palm Springs a year before the conference with members of the consultant’s firm. It describes that as “unreasonable.”

The audit also is critical of two Justice Department agencies - the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) and the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) - for spending $600,000 in grant funds for event-planning services for five conferences without demonstrating that the firms offered the most cost-effective services.

The inquiry specifically focused on taxpayer expenditures by the Justice Department at 10 of 1,832 conferences it hosted or participated in during fiscal 2008 and 2009. Those 10 conferences represented $4.4 million of the $121 million Justice spent on conferences during that time. The audit says the cost of food and beverages at the 10 conferences was nearly $490,000, or 11 percent of the total estimated cost of the events.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which oversees the Justice Department, was critical Tuesday of the expenditures.

“$16 muffins and $600,000 for event-planning services are what make Americans cynical about government and why they are demanding change,” Mr. Grassley emailed in response to a Times inquiry. “The Justice Department appears to be blind to the economic realities our country is facing. People are outraged, and rightly so.

“The Inspector General's Office just gave a blueprint for the first cuts that should be made by the super committee,” he said, referring to the congressional panel charged this year with finding more than $1 trillion in deficit cuts.

The report was a follow-up to a 2007 audit that examined 10 other Justice Department conferences and found few internal controls to limit extravagant expenses such as one conference that featured a luncheon for 120 that cost $53 per person and a $60,000 reception that included platters of Swedish meatballs at a cost of nearly $5 each.

In response to that audit, the Justice Department instituted new guidelines in April 2008 with meal and refreshment cost limits. However, the latest report says department agencies “did not adequately attempt to minimize conference costs as required” by the guidelines. In some cases, it says, the agencies were able to circumvent the limits because the rules did not to apply to conferences planned on cooperative agreements.

Investigators from the Inspector General's Office said the lack of documentation justifying the costs in fiscal 2008 and 2009 “indicated that not all sponsors were seriously questioning the need for expensive meals and refreshments at their events.”

Among the inspector general’s findings:

• At the February 2008 U.S. attorneys national conference, 84 officials attended a dinner with Attorney General Michael Mukasey at a cost $5,431, or almost $65 per person, after a reception where they had the pricey beef Wellington appetizers. The next day, 118 participants attended a dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn south of Alexandria that featured a choice of entrees, including crusted red snapper, stuffed chicken breast or beef medallions, along with hors d’oeuvres, side dishes and salads. The dinner cost $58 per person.

$7 for beef wellington sounds like a good deal actually, and sounds yummy. I gotta get a better gig...

Party Rooster

Unleash The Beast
I used to work banquets and can verify that deep pocketed customers like this would definitely have their bills"padded" because you put the automatic gratuity on the price of the total bill.


Registered User
I used to work banquets and can verify that deep pocketed customers like this would definitely have their bills"padded" because you put the automatic gratuity on the price of the total bill.
Oh, so if you remove the 20% gratuity the cookies only really cost $8.33 each. Well that's totally reasonable! ;)
You should check out the excuse makers in the comment thread for this story on Fark. Everything from "$16 isn't that much for a muffin" to "HURR DURR SARAH PALIN TEA PARTY RACIST BIGOT HOMOPHOBE BIRTHERS".

The Godfather

Spark it up for The Godfather and say!!!!!
Thread is titled...

"Further proof that America couldn't be broke"

so are you serious, and you're a dumb shit? Or are you trying to make ironics and such?


We are going to hit $15 Trillion in debt by the end of the year.

We are massively broke


Registered User
I guarantee some idiot in Washington is justifying overpaying for standard services as helping the economy by pumping extra money into the private sector.