U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today released the following statement in the first of a monthly series highlighting Washington's wasteful spending during a time of record debt and deficits.
A new audit by the Treasury Department's Inspector General discovered that the IRS spent nearly $50 million to hold at least 220 employee conferences between 2010 and 2012.
"The abusive overreach of IRS government workers unfairly targeting certain groups for their political beliefs has further weakened our trust and confidence in our government," Portman said. "On top of this, we recently learned that the IRS also recklessly spent $50 million on elaborate employee conferences. Rather than throwing taxpayer dollars down the drain on expensive guest speakers, elaborate videos of staffers taking line dancing lessons, travel mugs, and lanyards -- we should be investing in programs that work and getting rid of duplicative and wasteful programs that are driving up Washington's spending and deficits and weighing down future generations."
According to a new audit by the Treasury Department's Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) spent almost $50 million on over 200 employee conferences held between 2010 and 2012. The audit outlined various exorbitant costs, including the IRS spending $4.1 million on a gathering in Anaheim, CA rather than using the money to hire new employees, as originally intended. Wonder how they racked up the bill? Look no further.
* The conference was organized by outside event planners that did not take advantage of government rate rooms.
* $17,000 was spent on a keynote speaker who charged a large fee to bring along 6 paintings of famous people -- 2 were given away to IRS employees, 3 were donated to charity, and 1 was misplaced and never accounted for.
IRS Inspector General Report
* The IRS spent over $35,000 on travel just to plan for the conference.
* 45 local IRS employees, who did not need to travel and could have stayed at their homes, were paid over $30,000 in per diem costs to remain overnight at the hotel with the out-of-town IRS employees.
* Over $50,000 was spent on videos. While the IRS did not provide details on how this money was spent, two videos were leaked -- one of employees learning how to dance the Cupid Shuffle on stage, and another of employees acting in a Star Trek spoof video.
* $64,000 was spent on gifts and promotional items, including "brief bags" with engraved with the conference logo, hard-covered spiral-journals also sporting the logo, "800 lanyards, 75 travel mugs, 75 picture frames/clocks," engraved pens, and "give-away items from Oriental Trading."