U.S. Justice Department agencies spent too much for food at conferences, in one case serving $16 muffins and in another dishing out beef Wellington appetizers that cost $7.32 per serving, an audit found.
‚ÄúSome conferences featured costly meals, refreshments, and themed breaks that we believe were indicative of wasteful or extravagant spending,‚ÄĚ the Justice Department‚Äôs inspector general wrote in a report released today.
The inspector general reviewed a sample of 10 Justice Department conferences held between October 2007 and September 2009 at a cost of $4.4 million, a period that included the administrations of Republican George W. Bush and Democrat Barack Obama. The Justice Department spent $73.3 million on conferences in fiscal 2009, compared with $47.8 million a year earlier, according to the report....
John, re the $500 hammers, remember that aside from wrongdoing or incompetence (which nowadays can result in heavy penalties), anyone doing business w/ the military, if they're going to stay in business, has to cover the additional expenses customers impose (inspection, higher-quality materials, red tape, etc.), and if the military buys in small lots besides, the unit costs increase dramatically.
Also remember that anything requiring expensive American union labor, in particular, is going to cost much more than Made in China down at Ace Hardware.
$16 muffins? My first thought was that security and food-tasting fees had skyrocketed because of terror threats, significantly adding to the value of these meats.
But then I remembered the $500.00 hammers and other such overpriced items purchased by government and/or their contractors back in the 1980s to manipulate costs and money requirements of various departments.
Perhaps they had the standard dilemma common to most bureaucracies, public or private: spend all of this year's money, or risk getting less next year. I propose this solution: give a percentage of the leftover money as a bonus to all personnel in the dept., to give them an incentive to spend less next year.
I like to think this was the outbrief of the Conference of the Office on Violence Against Women: "We oppose it."