Watchdog: Conference Spending

Audit finds IRS spent more than $4 million on a single employee conference

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Politics,Susan Ferrechio,Conference Spending,IRS

The Internal Revenue Service spent $4.1 million on a single employee conference held in Anaheim, Calif., in 2010, one of 225 such events held over a two-year period at a cost to taxpayers of nearly $50 million.

According to a 63-page report authored by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and obtained by The Washington Examiner, the conference costs were approved by the both of the IRS’ deputy commissioners and were paid for by taking money from an IRS account intended for hiring “enforcement employees.” (Read the complete report embedded in the viewer below this story.)

The report also found shoddy documentation of conference spending, leading IRS auditors to question whether the final tally for the conferences is even accurate.

Other conferences included an August 2010 Technical Training Symposium for the agency’s taxpayer advocate service, which included 2,113 participants at a cost of nearly $3 million, the report found.

A March 2010 conference for the 721 employees of the division collection leadership for “continuing professional education” in San Diego, Calif., cost $1.2 million.

Auditor J. Russell George called the report evidence of “excessive spending” by the IRS and said that certain expenses “do not appear to be a good use of taxpayer funds.”

Read the complete report: $17k spent for speaker who painted portraits of Bono, Michael Jordan -- see page 12 of PDF

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Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner