The Internal Revenue Service put on an employee conference to the tune of $2.8 million, complete with an open bar and fancy hors d'oeuvres.
The 2008 event held in Atlanta for 1,550 employees opened with a video of agency workers dressed as Olympic athletes with makeshift torches, and ended with an awards dinner at the Georgia Aquarium catered by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, The Hill reports
"It was very lavish. . . . The training courses themselves were helpful and informative, but the culture of excess permeated this [conference], including the opening video, the opening-night cocktail, and hors d'oeuvres reception," an anonymous source told The Hill.
In a statement, the IRS said, "The size and details of [the] 2008 conference reflect a different era at the IRS. While there were legitimate reasons for holding the meeting, a number of the expenses associated with it would not occur today under our tough new guidelines."
The IRS said, "Sweeping new spending restrictions have been put in place at the IRS; travel and training expenses have dropped more than 80 percent since 2010; and similar large-scale meetings did not take place in 2011, 2012 or 2013."
Details of the Atlanta event follow on the heels of news earlier this month that the agency spent more than $4 million on a 2010 conference in Anaheim, Calif.
, , and a total of roughly $49 million on 225 conferences from 2010 to 2012.
The agency's reputation already has suffered from revelations that it had targeted conservative groups for heightened scrutiny.
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