Politics

House Panel Finds IRS Spent $50 Million On Employee Conferences

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A House committee that was looking into the IRS' spending found that the agency spent about $50 million on conferences for employees between 2010 and 2012. Part of the spending included $4 million for an August 2010 gathering in Anaheim, Calif.

According to a statement by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the IRS neglected to negotiate lower room rates.

The agency also spent money buying conference attendees things like baseball tickets and stays in presidential suites that normally cost $1,500 to $3,500 per night. Conference speakers racked up $135,000 in fees, including one orator who was paid $17,000 to talk about "leadership through art."

The full report by the Treasury Department's inspector general should be released on Tuesday. It comes as the IRS is already under the microscope for allegedly targeting members of the tea party and other conservative groups.

Three congressional committees are looking into the matter and a criminal investigation is also ongoing. President Barack Obama replaced the IRS' acting commissioner and two other top officials resigned their positions in the wake of the allegations, The Huffington Post reported.

The new acting commissioner of the IRS, Danny Werfel, released a statement on the forthcoming report and directly addressed the over-spending at the Anaheim conference.

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

IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge said spending on large agency conferences with 50 or more participants fell from $37.6 million in the 2010 budget year to $4.9 million in 2012.

Sources: The Huffington Post, Fox News