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$16 Muffins and $8 Coffee Served at US Department of Justice Conference Events

By Candice Taylor in Special Reports
September 21st, 2011

While millions of American consumers are cutting back or doing without due to the current economy, US Department of Justice is still spending.

Justice Department MuffinsHow much would you pay for a muffin?

How about a cup of coffee ?

You might be shocked to find out what the US Justice Department is willing to pay for serving these common items to conference attendees - all at the taxpayer’s expense.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General released a report on Tuesday entitled “Audit of Department of Justice Conference Planning and Food and Beverage Costs.”

The report covers the last few years of the George W. Bush administration and the first year of the Obama administration and details how the department hosted or participated in 1,832 conferences in 2008 and 2009, costing $121 million.

According to the report, one conference served muffins that cost $16 each (yes, you read that right, $16 each, not $16 for a dozen). Coffee and tea at some of these events cost as much as $8 per 8 ounce cup. That’s more than the average consumer pays for a bag or can of coffee that would yield up to 60 cups.

Another conference served Beef Wellington hors d’oeuvres that cost over $7 per serving. Still yet another conference had a $60,000 tab for a reception that included platters of Swedish meatballs with a cost of nearly $5 per meatball.

While hotel food is notoriously expensive, these costs are simply outrageous. The Justice Department will say that this report old news and that it has done much more since 2009 to reduce “allowable but … extravagant” spending.


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