Already facing criticism from lawmakers at a Capitol Hill hearing today for targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, the Internal Revenue Service is now under fire for spending $4.1 million on a single employee conference in Anaheim, California in 2010.
The shocking price is revealed in a new audit released this afternoon by a Treasury Inspector General. According to the audit, there were a total of 225 IRS conferences held over three years costing taxpayers nearly $50 million.
The report focuses primarily on “questionable expenses” at that 2010 conference in Southern California attended by 2,600 IRS employees of the Small Business/Self-Employed division.
For example, more than $50,000 was spent on videos shown at the conference. That includes a Star Trek parody featuring IRS executives, while another showed executives and managers learning the Cupid Shuffle.
And get this: the agency didn’t keep receipts for all its video expenses. That’s right. The IRS, which requires taxpayers to provide receipts for most expenses claimed on tax forms, didn’t keep its own documentation.
Another example of excessive spending: More than $135,000 in speaker fees, including $17,000 for a keynote speaker who made paintings of famous people to show you must free “the thought process to find creative solutions to challenges.” Another keynote speaker received $27,500 for two hour-long speeches.
CNN’s Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash is looking through the 63-page report and will have more outrageous details on the conference tonight on AC360 at 8 and 10 p.m. ET. She’ll also have the IRS response. See how the agency says it’s made changes to avoid this crazy spending in the future.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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