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Justice Department Gets Royal Treatment At Conferences

September 22, 2011 by  

Justice Department Gets Royal Treatment At Conferences

An audit at the Justice Department unveiled more than $121 million in wasteful spending on conferences in 2008 and 2009, including $4,200 muffin purchases and $8.24 cups of coffee.

Recently implemented rules require the Department to investigate incidences of wasteful spending at taxpayer expense. A report released on Tuesday outlines some of the department’s most wasteful expenditures.

The report concludes that the government body made no “reasonable” attempt to avoid wasting taxpayer dollars:

This is because the OJP(Office of Justice Programs) Financial Guide circularly defines “reasonable” prices as the prices that would have been incurred under the circumstances at the time the cost was incurred by a prudent person. As shown by the high cost of individual meals and refreshments incurred by the OJP and OVW (Office on Violence Against Women) events reviewed – $47 and $76 lunches and $8 cups of coffee – we do not believe that event planners took the steps necessary to minimize meal and refreshment costs.

The report also said that while the Justice Department spent more than $600,000 to pay event planners, no real evidence existed that it conducted cost benefit analysis when picking meeting places for conferences.

The statement says:

Another justification offered for food and beverages at conferences is that hotels sometimes agree to waive meeting space rental fees provided that DOJ purchase a minimum amount of food and beverages for the event. For the reviewed conferences, this minimum amount ranged from between $25,000 and $50,000; however, conference planners spent much more on food and beverages than what would have been required for free space…Although free meeting space may provide an opportunity to save money, no component or event planner reviewed assessed whether the cost of meals and refreshments was less than the cost that meeting space would have been had it not been provided by the hotels for free. Without a cost-benefit analysis that compares the value of free meeting space to the cost of meals and refreshments, we could not determine whether conference costs were reduced by a component or event planner ordering a set amount of food and beverages and receiving meeting space at no cost.

As public outrage begins following the release, many politicians have also voiced concerns over massive bureaucratic spending. According to CNN, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) — a longtime advocate of reducing the reach of bureaucratic agencies — released a statement following the report denouncing the agency’s extreme waste.

“Sixteen-dollar muffins and $600,000 for event planning services are what make Americans cynical about government and why they are demanding change. The Justice Department appears to be blind to the economic realities our country is facing. People are outraged, and rightly so,” he said.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • nw

    Super Committee needs to abolish this department.

  • Patriot II

    If this (wastefull spending) is a revelation to anyone in this country, no wonder they keep voting for Liberals, they just plain got their Heads buried in the sand. This is nothing compared to the real waste! Like Half a Billion Dollars to a company that goes Bankrupt.

  • SMSgt Z retired Nam 68

    Believe both of you overlooked the line bellow

    Recently implemented rules require the Department to investigate incidences of wasteful spending at taxpayer expense

    • Greg T

      And what you failed to notice is how the department already made excuses for the outrageous expenses.

      If this public outrage is excused, do you honestly believe that when the public light no longer shines that the department will police itself?

      The department’s statements predicts their future decisions, and it doesn’t look good for taxpayer money that is looked at being free funds for those that didn’t create it in the first place.

      • SMSgt Z retired Nam 68

        “Recently implemented rules” What that say’s is there was no rules before the RECENTLY IMPLEMENTED RULES it’s really not that hard to understand ; or is it?

        • Greg T

          Ah, if only more rules made for a better society.

          Only time will tell who is correct about this. Come back in 5 years and see if the new rules did their job or were only window dressing to get people to leave them alone.

    • ValDM

      Well, now, they’re going to “investigate.” I feel ever so much better now. Anyone in their right mind would say this type of spending for a conference is flat-out wrong. As the prices paid have revealed : THEY PAID TOO MUCH. Furthermore, at this level of spending, I would have thought they were having caviar & champagne instead of coffee & muffins.

      But, after all, it isn’t THEIR money is it?

  • Mike C

    But Government is God. And God is always right!

    • Christin


      God Almighty is ALWAYS Right.

      Gov is just a ‘Glutton’ with money and food and alcohol and plane travel and parties and ceremonies and vacations, and…

      Hey, what do you expect a balanced budget and frugality in day to day operations… they have a blank check in the sum of 15.9 Trillion Dollars… (raised debt limit without the consent of the People) parasitic really!

  • s c

    Boy, I feel better. Now that I know someone will “investigate,” life has to get better. All we need to hear is the idea that an investigation might be done.
    B S ! How the #%^&* do we get stuck with retards who don’t know what’s wrong about an $8 cup of frickin’ coffee? It is NOT possible to make a muffin worth $4,200 muffin [OR even a box full of muffins that are theoretically worth that much].
    What is wrong with this country? I would tie expenditures like to this the arses of every elected SOB in Washington, and when such events become known, take it out of the checks of those worthless summers who are taking up space in Washington.
    Anyone who’s so stupid and can’t understand what’s wrong needs to come where I live so I can sell them some barely-used dirt at volume prices. This dirt has very low miles on it, and it will last for a long time
    (the previous owner took good care of it). And, it’s certified ‘pre-owned,’ too. I guarantee it!

  • http://Comcast JC

    This is not only about the people eating these expensive items but about the people who are selling them. They are the ones who are putting the price on them. They are the ones making the money. They are ones who should have a punishment put on them for cheating the public. That includes anyone selling items to the government. Many are lining their pockets apparently ignoring that fact that it’s the people of our nation who are paying the bill. There doesn’t seem to be many honest people willing to sell what an item is worth when it comes to selling to the government.

    • Jibbs

      But the dummies who bought the $16.00 muffin were not forced to buy, they should have shpped around.
      Who’s the dummie now? Too bad that WE let this sh!t happen!

  • eddie47d

    Shut down the Capitalistic catering companies who try and milk the hell out of the US taxpayers.This is nothing new remember those $400 toilet seats? We have a serious problem with private companies gouging us even in war time such as Haliburton. These companies aren’t American they are thieves and shame on the gullible government for allowing it to keep happening.

    • independant thinker

      Oh put a sock in it eddie. I can charge anything I want for a good or service. If you are stupid enough to pay my price then YOU are the one to blame not me. Firms only overcharge for things because they know there will be no questions asked. If proper procedures were in place and they were followed there wouldn’t be a problem.

      • eddie47d

        How about you putting a sock into it. If private companies were honest the government wouldn’t be having all these problems. You make a good case for regulating businesses even more.

        • Buster the Anatolian

          Like he said eddie if the government had rules and regulations in place and followed those rules and regulations there would not be a problem with overpaying for coffee, cupcakes, or anything else.

        • independant thinker

          How about you blaming the DOJ for deliberately choosing a fancy expensive place to hold their meetings instead of looking for some place that had more reasonable prices. How about you blame the DOJ for using the most expensive catering service in town instead of a mid price or lower price one.

  • Ted69retiredof Virginia

    Asking the department to investigate itself, what could possibly go wrong with that idea??? They will, of necessity, have to appoint new members to the investigating committee so they will have someone to fall on the swords, with staff to support the new investigators. Salaries will have to be studied and approved. New computers for this staff will have to be purchased. 10 years and 1 billion dollars ought to do it, and the findings will be inconclusive. My minister says pray for our leaders, and I do. Please GOD remove these individuals, most of them are irresponsible, liberal, Marxist democrats, but take the RINO’s too, and charity to them means other peoples money and now would be okay with me.

    • Jibbs

      Maybe the largest piece of the falling satellite will hit, you know who.

      • http://?? Joe H.

        We could not get that LUCKY!!!

  • JimH

    Maybe those muffins cost $16 is because the price included some Al Gore calorie off sets.

  • nw

    It just gets better! Those 1000 people laid off at the solar company, are qualified to receive training through some job bill written in the grant at $13,000 per person, all paid by 49% of taxpayers in this country.

  • Kate8

    What I want to know is when someone is going to express outrage over Michelle O’s personal outings. On her last get-away to Africa last month, she ran up a $10million tab. How does one even do that?

    All of them, including HER, need to be investigated. In her case, it wasn’t even an official jaunt, so she wasn’t entitled to spend OUR money. She can pay for her own vacations.

    It seems that the political class (and their families) don’t EVER spend their own money for ANYTHING. So why pay them at all?

  • JimH

    I wonder if the committee that is going to investigate the waste of tax dollars will be served $75 cheese burgers during their conference.
    The $16 muffins might not hold them over until lunch.

  • s c

    Now that the world’s worst wackos have gathered at the UN to discuss how to carry on a conversation, why terrorists should be singled out as bad (they’re victims of the world, don’t cha know?) and how to waste money and get away with it, I’d like to know how many governments are footing the bill for their reps chasing hookers while they’re at the UN.
    Plus, if the Justice Department has any reps there, are they screwing taxpayers while they’re getting “serviced” at the UN?
    What are the odds that the space junk coming down shortly will hit the UN? It could happen, and if I didn’t think US taxpayers would be asked to pay for the damned thing, I’d have a reason to hope that the UN gets taken apart right down to the ground. It would be a nice place to have a public park – and the UN’s vermin would have to go elsewhere.


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