Collected and Wasted: The IRS Spending Culture and Conference Abuses


Tuesday June 4th, 2013   •   Posted by Mary Theroux at 7:08am PDT   •  

irsdance_200x200Just in case anyone is thinking that it’s OK the IRS abuses its power because, after all, we need to fund the government and all the important functions its serves, you might be interested in the following. On Thursday, June 6, there will be a hearing entitled “Collected and Wasted: The IRS Spending Culture and Conference Abuses:”

The hearing will focus on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report on excessive IRS conference spending and abuses of taxpayer dollars. Issa sent a letter about excessive spending to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman in April, 2012. Between 2010 and 2012, the IRS held at least 220 conferences, which cost approximately $50 million.

In one example, the IRS spent $4 million dollars on a manager’s conference for 2,600 people in Anaheim, Calif. in August, 2010. 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.

Additionally, multiple videos were produced for the conference. A previously unreleased video, referred to as the “cupid shuffle,” and featured employees learning the popular dance as part of preparation for the Anaheim management conference.

I promise you that you don’t want to learn the IRS’s version of the “Cupid Shuffle,” (“Getting Ready for Anaheim”) but watching IRS employees prepping it is probably good background should you ever face an audit: screen it for the auditor and see if it doesn’t get you some leverage:




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