IRS Spent $50 Million in Two Years on ‘Conferences’

A report to be released on Tuesday investigating expenditures by the Internal Revenue Service will reveal that $50 million was lavished on some 220 conferences for employees between 2010 and 2012.

In one case alone, the report finds that the IRS spent $4 million on a conference for 2,600 IRS employees held in Anaheim, California in August of 2010.

According to Rep. Darrell Issa (R, CA) this is an “abuse of taxpayer dollars.”

The website of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reports that, “contrary to established government contracting practices, the outside event planners did not negotiate lower room rates and instead focused on ‘perks’ for IRS employees. Several IRS employees stayed in presidential suites, which rate at $1,500-$3,500 per night. Moreover, 15 outside speakers were paid $135,000 – including one speaker who lectured on “leadership through art” for $17,000.”

On Sunday, a spokesman for the Treasury Department told the media that, “increased scrutiny on all bureau travel and conferences and instituted stringent safeguards and policies” is being undertaken.

Additionally, Danny Werfel, a former official at the White House Office of Management and Budget, praised the administration for trying to put an end to such spending.

“This conference is an unfortunate vestige from a prior era. While there were legitimate reasons for holding the meeting, many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have occurred,” Werfel said.

“Taxpayers should take comfort that a conference like this would not take place today,” Werfel added.

But appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Representative Issa disputed claims that the such over-the-top spending is being reigned in.

“Understand that some of the things that they’re saying, ‘Well, this wouldn’t happen again,’ [but] they would still happen again,’” Issa said.

On April 20, of last year a letter was sent from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to then IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman pointing out that the General Services Administration has “failed to heed the president’s message and to learn from the mistakes of the SSA” over its “wasteful” and “excessive” conference expenditures. Issa’s committee demanded the IRS release further documents to account for the expenditures.

The Committee will also hold a hearing on the government waste report on June 6.

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  • retired.military

    Well I guess the DC park police have been taking their cues from the IRS

    Wonder if they ask left wing groups for their websites. Oh wait they can find the links to the left wing websites off of

  • jim_m

    Last week I said that the fascist state that the left devoutly wishes for is nearly here. I was wrong. “Nearly” was a mistake. It has now arrived given the info at the link that RM provides.

    • Brucehenry

      Oh yes, an alleged delay in processing a rally permit is PROOF that a “fascist state” has arrived, lol.

      Question for you, Jim: Why haven’t you taken up arms against this supposed “fascist state,” as a true patriot would if fascism were truly being implemented?

      Is it because you’re a sniveling, whining coward, or because you yourself don’t believe the hogwash you write?

      It’s gotta be one or the other.

      • Hank_M

        That is a particularly stupid question you asked. But then, you only did so to level an impressively nasty insult at someone you disagree with.

        For some reason I expected better of you.
        I was wrong.

        • It just makes him first on the list for the exact same treatment when the worm turns (as it inevitably will).

      • jim_m

        Yes Bruce, using the force of government to suppress political speech, classifying investigative journalism that the government doesn’t like as espionage are not facets of a fascist state because these are all being done in the name of an agenda you support.

        I used to think that you were a reasonable person, but in the last month you have demonstrated that you are wholly in favor of a government that suppresses the rights of people who think differently from you and classifying political opposition as illegal.

        Fascism may not have fully arrived but it certainly has in THIS government and in you.

        • Brucehenry

          Please tell me your nuanced view of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers. Has Ellsberg always been a hero of yours, as Rosen is now? Were you shouting your teenage adenoids out about fascism when Ellsberg was being persecuted, err, I mean prosecuted?

          The link RM posted is perfect for you. A suspicious slow-walk of the rally permits? Maybe. Proof that you were wrong when you said a fascist state was “near” because “it has now arrived”? Umm, no.

          But it still sets your hair on fire.

          I just took the opportunity this morning to again point out how over-the-top your comments always are. “Fascism has arrived.” Please. Get a grip.

          Or, if you really really really think fascism is being implemented by the Kenyan Usurper, DO something besides wail about it on the Internet.

          Do point out where I have made comments wholly in favor of government suppression of rights or outlawing political opposition. And I don’t mean your patented “You said X which obviously leads to Y.” bullshit. Quotes, baby.

          • jim_m

            Please tell me your nuanced view of Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.

            I was 2 years old at the time and have never bothered to make a detailed examination of the subject, so fuck of mr fascist. Is that nuanced enough for you?

          • Brucehenry

            Well, you were negative eleventy-dozen in 1865 and 1965 but know all about how bad the Democrats were back then.

            Excuse me for bringing up a REAL incident when government tried to silence investigative journalism. Under a Republican president, btw. There were hotheads back then saying that Fascism Had Arrived, but they were wrong, too. As wrong and as hotheaded as you are now. LOL.

            Speaking of making opposition illegal, check out Nixon and Lennon

          • LiberalNightmare

            Ah – once again we hear the battle cry of the liberal defender.

            “Its OK because Bush did it toooooooooo!”

          • Brucehenry

            Who mentioned Bush?

          • jim_m

            The difference between a leftist and a conservative complaining about the imposition of fascism is that the leftist complains that they are not the ones imposing it while the conservative protests the imposition by anyone.

            A better example of government silencing journalism would have been Lincoln, but then the left spends so much time trying to acquire his legacy that they don’t want to admit to his authoritarian and anti-civil rights policies.

          • Brucehenry

            The point is you don’t believe half the apocalyptic nonsense you write here yourself. If you did you’d be stocking up your survival bunker in rural Idaho with ammo and MREs, not wasting time arguing with liberals in a blog’s comment section.

          • jim_m

            While I do not believe that a fascist state has been irreversibly imposed I do believe that the left is trying to and I believe that they desperately want to impose one. I believe that you will deny it beyond the camps and the killing fields.

            And I do believe that the obama admin has destroyed the legitimacy of the federal government as it is currently composed and that the only solution may be to radically dismantle the bureaucracy and that without doing so that very fascist government that the left wants will be an inevitability before 2020.

          • Brucehenry

            And in 2021 you’ll be claiming fascism is inevitable by 2028.

            You remind me of this guy:

          • retired.military

            Is that like Al Gore in 2008 saying that the North pole would be Ice free in 5 years?

          • Commander_Chico

            I actually do think we are slipping into fascism, or some kind of oligarchical authoritarianism.

            But I think it’s a bipartisan effort fueled by money.

            Here’s an example: it’s confirmed that the NSA is collecting on all Verizon customers:


            I won’t stock up on ammo, I’ll just move to a freer place.

          • jim_m

            I won’t deny that beltway republicans like McCain and Graham are perfectly fine with a dictatorship as long as they get to come along for a ride with the ruling class.

          • No, it’s alleged. The purported document has some issues (FBI applying to FIS court for an order delivering LUD data to NSA?).

          • jim_m

            Seriously? I present books from historians and you scoff and you come and expect anyone to take seriously a rockumentary broadcast on VH1??? I’ll bet you consider Michael Moore and Oliver Stone to be authoritative historians do you? Your movie isn’t history, it is propaganda.

            Somehow I doubt that the DOJ ever listed John Lennon as an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to commit espionage against the United States.

          • Brucehenry

            Wherever it was broadcast it documented events that, you know, actually did happen. The government did indeed attempt to deport Lennon because it didn’t like his political stance on Vietnam and militarization. Nixon did indeed take a personal interest in Lennon’s case.

            It was in all the papers at the time. I remember reading about it in the early 1970s.

            Nothing comparable has been shown in the case of this Park Police nothingburger. Yet you are howling about fascism having arrived. I’d say you’re 40 years late, except I’m not an alarmist paranoid who has no faith in America and the rule of law, like you are.

            I think Stone and Moore are about as reliable as Dinesh D’Souza.

            The Nixon administration went after Ellsberg and the New York Times re: the Pentagon Papers, yet the Republic survived.

          • jwbi1001

            “The Nixon administration went after Ellsberg and the New York Times re: the Pentagon Papers, yet the Republic survived.”

            You do realize that all the wrongdoing in the Nixon white house lead to his being removed from office right? Are you suggesting that since Obama is basically doing the same thing the same fate should befall him? If not then you seem to have a bit of a blind spot.

          • jim_m

            The wrongdoing was not about the Pentagon papers though. The Pentagon Papers reflected badly on previous Presidents not Nixon. The better play for Nixon would have been to redesignate the information as unclassified and let people blame Kennedy and Johnson for lying to them. Instead Nixon tried to suppress it because it was classified and he ended up appropriating the blame for things that happened before his term.

          • Brucehenry

            Fascism did not come to America in the 1970s because the system worked, albeit in a cumbersome and agonizing manner. If you think Obama is guilty of similar actions you should work for his impeachment. But you won’t, you’ll just scream the sky is falling from the comfort of your keyboard.

            The whole Plumbers thing was in response to the Pentagon Papers issue. Nixon went beyond the questionable to the flagrantly illegal and completely unjustifiable. It’s putting it mildly to say it remains to be seen if Obama has done anything remotely equivalent to the Plumbers scandal.

            EDIT: My apologies to jwb1001. Thought I was replying to Jim. Didn’t mean that YOU were a lardass blowhard.

          • jim_m

            Please enlighten us as to the connection between the Watergate burglary and the Pentagon Papers. This is something you only seem to know.

            You seem to like papering over the fact that the Pentagon Papers uncovered democrat malfeasance and not Nixon’s.

            Also you call what Nixon did fascism when it was nothing in comparison to the systematic corruption of the federal government that the dems have accomplished under obama.

          • Brucehenry

            The secret gang that was known as the “Plumbers” were formed to break into Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office. They did various unsavory dirty tricks between then and the Watergate burglary. Howard Hunt and James McCord were two of the original “Plumbers” and they were both caught up in the Watergate affair. The whole Plumbers scandal would have never come to light if they hadn’t botched the Watergate burglary.

            See, that’s what made the scandal take on the catch-all name “Watergate” kinda like “Whitewater” was shorthand for the mostly bogus scandals of the Clinton years.

            LOL that I am the only one that knows of the connection, Jim. It’s common knowledge to anyone sentient during that era. You can be forgiven for your ignorance, though, since you were a toddler at the time. But for your own sake, refrain from dumbass remarks like “this is something only you seem to know” until you at least check Wikipedia or Google or something.

          • jim_m

            it remains to be seen if Obama has done anything remotely equivalent to the Plumbers scandal.


            Nope, illegally surveilling the entire population of the United States is not overstepping the bounds because Bruce’s lord and savior is doing it.

            obama has only taken the position that reporting the news is espionage.

            obama’s administration has only used the IRS and other bureaucracies to target hundreds of organizations and individuals for the infringement of their rights based on their political beliefs.

            But no, obama hasn’t done ANYTHING like the Watergate break in. obama is as pure as the driven snow. Never mind that his government doesn’t even know who the people are that they blow up with drones.

            Bruce will continue to apologize for oppression right up to the point where he is no longer of use to the regime and he will then expect the rest of us to stand up for him when they come to take him away.

          • Brucehenry

            The program you’re scandalized about started in 2007. Your link doesn’t allege it’s illegal. It has several Republican defenders in Congress.

          • jim_m

            SO you are going to stand behind Lindsey Graham as an exemplar of liberty when he is saying that he doesn’t believe that the first amendment should apply to everyone and that the press should be restricted to only those the government licenses.

            Yeah, you’re a great judge of who is defending our liberties.

          • Brucehenry

            I don’t pay any attention to Lindsey Graham. Has he made a statement on this subject?

          • jim_m

            He came out today saying that he is glad that the government is surveilling its own citizens.

          • Brucehenry


          • jim_m

            I find it interesting that the Wikipedia link you give mentions that the Truman, Kennedy and Johnson Administrations all lied to the American public and you have no problem with left wing presidents lying to the public, violating their oath of office and making a mockery of freedom.

            I will note that Chico has come out against publishing classified information regardless of whether or not it is public knowledge.

            So what you are claiming is that publication of classified documents is the same as James Rosen asking for background details on current events so he could have an edge over the competition.

            It isn’t that I have no faith in America, it is that I have every faith that you and your fellow travelers would put people like me in prison for what I think and believe.

            The difference is that the Pentagon Papers was a gov official seeking to leak the information and the NYT published classified information. James Rosen was reporting, asking for an insider’s view and was not committing treason as the obama DOJ claims.

            You are defending tyranny by making such a false comparison. I am clearly correct when I claim that you will defend anything that obama and Holder do to suppress civil rights and obliterate our freedoms.

          • Daniel Ellsberg, Bradly Manning, and Leon Panetta all deserve long prison sentences for their failure to protect classified information.

          • 914


          • Rdmurphy42

            Half right. You are wholly in support of it as long as its a democrat doing it. Royal indignation if its a republican, of course.

      • retired.military


        Has any liberal groups came forward and stated the DC park police asked for their websites?

        I dont seem to recall hearing anything about the Park Police checking out websites or facebook pages of OWS. And if you recall there are numerous organizations which openly advocate the overthrow of the govt that routinely show up at just about all the liberal protests.

        This is especially troubling news considering the proven IRS cases which has been in the news (Despite the administration and the “MSM reporters” trying to gloss over them) for weeks now.

  • Wild_Willie

    Leave it to Brucy to come to the defense of the clearly indefensible. Benghazi, IRS, EPA, Holder, secret email accounts, etc. It is amazing how the left just tries to dismiss the many felonies. Liberals are a very disgusting lot. ww

  • The results of a “Use it or lose it” accounting mentality… “We have excess! We must spend it, or our budget will be cut next year!” “We can’t get new furniture, just did that LAST year, our computers are top of the line, we’ve got 2 24″ monitors on each desk – maybe a conference?” “Woo-hoo! Vegas, here we come!”

    Man, you’d think they’d figure it out by now that a use-it or lose-it practice REALLY causes a lot of waste.

    • Commander_Chico

      I bet you saw that in the AF. Mad orgy of spending at the end of the quarter/ fiscal year. I had a superior hand me a bunch of blank requisition chits at 4 pm and told me to fill them all out by midnight.

      • Yep, saw that a lot. Around September there was always a lot of consumables bought and painting going on to zero out the facilities maintenance budgets in the squadrons. Around January, though? You couldn’t buy a thing unless it was REALLY essential… and they were kinda iffy about toilet paper, lol.

        Not so much in the Reserves, though, for some reason. Maybe because the folks were going to be in their assignments longer instead of a 1-2 year stay and then a rotation, and they could plan for the long run.

        Saw it at the CDC also, when I was working for a contractor there. End of the fiscal year, they had to spend and spend so their budgets wouldn’t get cut.

    • LiberalNightmare

      I think the problem is bigger than bad accounting practices.

      • But small things can indicate bigger problems… just ask any doctor about abnormalities in blood work.

  • Commander_Chico

    What bugged me about this most on the CNN report was that they handed over the conference organization to a private contractor who got a percentage on the cost of the conferences.

    So it was going to be dee-luxe all of the way.

    • Facepalm…

      But look on the bright side! Don’t we want the civil servants who are looking to screw us over to be happy? They might even be so happy and content they’ll use lube instead of sandpaper!

  • Jack Zimms

    Sounds like the IRS can’t even find many of the receipts for
    those expenses. That just proves they are truly a liberal group. They require high
    standards for conservatives and low standards for liberals like themselves.

    • alanstorm

      Yep, just try taking the 5th and failing to produce receipts if you get audited. I’m sure they’ll understand.

      • jim_m

        I am sure if you just say that you are sorry they will let you off. It is what they expect us to do.

        • SURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • SURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Par4Course

    We’re talking $50 million over 3 years, which works out to less than one half of one percent of the federal budget. Big deal. Why are we bothering to complain about the IRS partying? It’s not the most destructive thing our government or that agency does by far.

    Many years ago, a friend of mine was told, “Those legislators in Springfield (IL) spend most of their time drinking and whoring.” My friend replied, “I don’t mind the drinking and whoring. They should do that 100% of the time. It’s what they do when they’re at work passing laws that I object to.”

    The IRS is at its best when its people are partying and at its worst when they’re “doing their job,” like rubber-stamping liberal groups 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) applications, while putting the same applications by conservative groups under an electron microscope or just sitting on them indefinitely.

    • jim_m

      Seriously? How freaking ignorant can you be? You may feel that it is OK to write a $50 million loan to pay for this crap but sane people do not.

      We are spending trillions of dollars that we don’t have. Every dollar of debt that we are paying interest on is enabling exactly this kind of bullshit. These hyper partisan idiots are enjoying this binge on dollars that we are borrowing. These idiots think that they justify this kind of reward for violating the constitutional rights of our citizens.

      The problem is not just here but in every bureaucracy in the federal government. They are all spending money on crap that we shouldn’t be paying for. If you wouldn’t take out a personal loan to fund this crap then you shouldn’t be excusing this.

      • I get his point, Jim. It’s rather like Obama’s vacations – I think the money for his wandering around is VERY well spent, because when he’s out having ‘fun’ it’s a lot less expensive for us all.

        • jim_m

          I’m buying that less and less. What we are getting is not more frivolity and less oppression, we are getting both more frivolity and more oppression.

          We fool ourselves thinking that these are anything at all like distractions from the business of taking our rights away. If anything the legitimate business of running the government is taking a back seat to both the BS extravagance and the partisan hackery.

          We need to stop accepting incompetence as a potential trade off for malfeasance because what we are getting is more of both.

          • retired.military

            A few million here, a few million there. Eventually we will be talking about real money. Personally I think that the person who approved the crap should be made personally responsible to pay for it out of their own pockets.

            Look at the news story today about the EPA.

          • jim_m

            Yeah, I have already seen it. This is exactly my point. They aren’t substituting junkets for being partisan hacks, they are substituting both of those for the legitimate business of government.

            The federal government no longer governs it rules and the bureaucracy exists today, not to conduct the business of government, but to implement the partisan spoils system and to infringe upon the rights of conservatives that oppose the waste.

            It is not just obama, but the entirety of the federal government that has lost legitimacy and the consent of the governed.

          • Glenn Instapundit Reynolds has been suggesting that Congress zero the IRS T&E Budget. It would be a good start…

          • jim_m

            As the EPA incident demonstrates, zeroing out their budgets will have no effect on their continuing to waste our money in this manner. The budget line that needs to be zeroed out is their payroll.

          • Sounds like a plan to me.

          • And me.

            They’ve failed at the most fundamental level at the responsibility of applying the law fairly and impartially.

          • What we’re getting, I think, is the Chicago Culture imposed not by regulation, but by a sense of “Well, what would the President want me to do?” And, with the head of the IRS going to the White House a rather extravagant number of times, there’s plenty of time to pass verbal instructions.

            After all, if it ain’t on paper, then you can blame the underlings, and they can go “Well, we don’t have anything in writing showing who told us this…” Asses are covered by firing a few symbolic scapegoats, the problem is proclaimed solved, and then it’s business as usual.

            The folks who had their applications ‘delayed’ ought to know better than to complain, otherwise they’ll get a proctoscope shoved up their returns. Their silence ensures a lowered chance of audits for the next 20 years.

            Except this time, the folks being rolled by the government aren’t staying silent, and the IRS employees who’d get the nominal chop are going “Hey, wait one minute…”

            And a lot of people are going “You mean the IRS is also going to be handling Obamacare? Maybe we need to be paying attention to this…” And even if they think conservatives had it coming because they weren’t worshiping Obama, they’re realizing that he’s not going to be President forever and the procedures set in place for going after conservative groups could just as easily go after liberal ones.

            The pendulum always swings.

      • They’re already in OUR wallet’s for their salary, medical, and retirement. Let them pay for their own bloody T&E.

    • Jack Zimms

      What I pay as an individual and my corporate pay in taxes is
      such an insignificant percentage of what is collected. Therefore, I and my corporation and all like me shouldn’t have to pay taxes.That would follow liberal logic anyway.

    • Rdmurphy42

      THing is … that is the exact response given to every single instance of overspending. Fifty million here, there, everywhere and you start adding up to actual money.

  • Vagabond661

    Can we stop calling them civil servants at least?

  • Vahlsing

    Actually, the IRS does not represent our U.S. Constitution, as the IRS is an unfair tax collecting system – (a “voluntary tax system” but with force is a contradiction incongruity). If it’s a “voluntary tax system” why should anyone

    Oppression and government employee corruption is everywhere in the USA. An individual does not have choices anymore, as their choices are limited by the U.S. government employees and their regulations. The elected that are meant to protect this nation’s Freedoms; have instead destroyed our Freedoms; they have regulated and taxed us to death to the point that the oppression in this country is in the anger phase.


    “We the People” need “Individual Freedoms” / the “Free Enterprise / Market System” upheld; and my TRANSACTING TAX in place -The TRANSACTION TAX is my idea that I thought about back in the early 1970’s when I was working alongside my father Fred H. Vahlsing Jr. for our family’s companies. I want to abolish all taxes at the federal level, at the State level and at the local level; and I want to put in place my TRANSACTION TAX which is the most “fairest” tax on earth. Everyone pays — No Exceptions / No Exemptions. Everyone pays on every transaction a 12% tax–including all donations to non-profits, foundations, churches, etc. (No Exceptions / No Exemptions / EVERYONE PAYS). This TRANSACTION TAX will cause the stock market manipulators to cease their manipulating market games; as they will have to pay 12% on every securities transaction. At the same time we must abolish every tax that is existent. Every time a dollar is transacted; 12% goes to the Feds; no matter what entity or who is transacting the dollar – (part of this 12% TRANSACTION TAX to be shared with each State directly using location where the initiated transaction took place). Our economy would flourish, as the business arena using this TRANSACTION TAX system would equal the competition playing field for all enterprises (new and established). The IRS must be shut down and my TRANSACTION TAX system put in place. We must abolish every tax that
    is existent (the U.S. Congress must stop the States and local governments from
    creating any kind of taxation including property tax). All existing taxes must
    be abolished at the federal level, State level and local level and put in place
    my TRANSACTION TAX system. Do the math on this. At some point the 12% could be dropped down to 8% or 5% because this TRANSACTION TAX system will increase “supply and demand” in the market.

    The U.S. Congress must stop the States and Local governments from collecting any type of tax. I will list a few here – such as property tax and special
    assessment tax, sales tax, profession license tax, business taxes and fees of
    any kind (franchise taxes, etc.), vehicle reg. tax, driver license tax, CDL license tax, tractor-trailer taxes, shipping taxes, building permits taxes and fees, assorted fuel taxes, oil tax, pollution tax, utility tax, water tax, sewer tax, communications tax, carbon tax, farm animals and pet taxes, all special and excise taxes (including cigarette excise; estate; bank franchise; insurance franchise; ore; energy mineral severance; coin operated laundromat license fees; beer, wine and distilled spirits; gaming excise; beer and liquor license fees; and alcohol beverage brand registration fees), capital gains tax, “?THE FANNY TAX?”, j-walking tax, including and not limited to a million or more hidden illegal taxes, fees and fines, etc., etc….

    Do the math – if you shut down the IRS tomorrow and fired every IRS employee, what would that cost saving be? ($ about ten to twelve-billion in savings?) … We the People are powerful in numbers.

    Note about securing the U.S. / Mexico border and help pay for this security >>>>

    What we should do is … instead of building a wall; we should build a high speed monorail to run from the Pacific Ocean along the U.S. / Mexico border to the Gulf of Mexico. The monorail structure would have all the security technology built into it to secure the border.

    Take a stand against the IRS and other government corruption activities. The Tea Party Patriots is hosting an “Audit the IRS Rally” Wednesday, June 19, 2013 from Noon to 2pm at the West Lawn of US Capitol. Bring your voice.