The Internal Revenue Service spent millions of taxpayer dollars on everything from event planners' commissions to speakers' fees to guest prizes to parody videos at a 2010 conference, an audit of the agency shows.
The beleaguered agency – already snared in controversy over its targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status – spent $4.1 million on a 2010 conference in Anaheim, California, with "questionable expenses" comprising much of the budget, according to the report released Tuesday by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration.
Congressional investigators are looking into the targeting of conservative organizations by IRS employees in Cincinnati. And the Inspector General will issue a report on how the IRS spent taxpayer money for expensive leadership conferences. CNN's Dana Bash reports on both investigations.
Rep. Michele Bachmann has decided not to seek re-election in 2014. An ethics investigation into how her campaign funds were used will end when she exits Congress at the end of her term.
The Republican Congresswoman announced the news in a video on her website on Wednesday. Bachmann said she didn't base the decision on the congressional ethics inquiry, and it's not because she's worried about her chances of getting re-elected. CNN's Dana Bash reports.
Gabby Giffords remembers facing her assailant at his sentencing.
"Beady eyes," she said of Jared Loughner, who shot the former Arizona congresswoman in the head with a 9mm Glock pistol. Six people died and 13 were injured that day when the deranged gunman opened fire in front of a Tucson supermarket.
At the sentencing last November, Giffords sat stoically - staring Loughner down - as her husband, Mark Kelly, spoke to the court.
"Well, yes, he had some interesting expressions on his face," said Kelly. "And she did not look away."
"Beady eyes," Giffords repeated.
In an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with CNN, Giffords and Kelly understand they are now in the center of the heated debate over gun control and background checks, while still struggling to rebuild their lives after that day in January 2011, when their lives changed forever.
Programming note: Watch the second part of Dana Bash's interview with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Gabby Giffords, a powerful advocate for stricter gun legislation, is optimistic about universal background checks. She and her husband, Mark Kelly, spoke exclusively with CNN's Dana Bash about her recovery and efforts to change gun laws.
Editor's note: See more of Dana Bash's interview with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET tonight.
What is most shocking about Gabby Giffords now is how much she looks like her old self. Her golden locks are back, so is the sparkle in her eyes and her broad smile. Gone is the short hair and thin frame we saw at the beginning of her recovery.
Yet she knows she will never be the same.
"Stronger. Stronger, better, tougher. Stronger, better, tougher." That's how Giffords describes herself.
The former Arizona congresswoman makes that declaration with determination and gusto. But it still takes a considerable amount of energy and concentration to articulate that, or anything else.
Programming note: See more of Dana Bash's interview with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET Tuesday night.
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, tell CNN's Dana Bash that they continue to own guns for recreation. Giffords was severely wounded during a 2011 shooting rampage that injured 12 others and killed six in Tucson.
For target practice, Kelly uses the same type of gun Giffords was shot with, a 9mm Glock, but with a magazine that can hold 17 rounds. The Tucson shooter had a magazine that held 33 rounds.
They believe they have credibility in the gun control debate because they are long-time gun owners who support Second Amendment rights. The couple is campaigning for stricter gun laws, including universal background checks, to prevent guns from getting in to the wrong hands.
Questions or comments? Send an email
Want to know more? Go behind the scenes with