The saga of the $16 muffin continues.
Earlier this week, the Justice Department’s Inspector General skewered DOJ officials for paying exorbitant prices for conference food and entertainment.
Including muffins that cost $16 a piece.
Politicians and pundits were outraged. They called for heads to roll. Never mind that six of the 10 conferences that the IG examined occurred during the George W. Bush administration and the heads may no longer be available to be rolled.
Nonetheless, on Wednesday, Jacob Lew, the director of the Office of Management and Budget laid down the law–no more $16 muffins or $32 popcorn.
“The President has directed me to instruct all agencies and departments to conduct a thorough review of the policies and controls associated with conference-related activities and expenses,” he wrote in a memo to the heads of executive departments and agencies. “Until such time as the Deputy Secretary (or equivalent) can certify that the appropriate policies and controls are in place to mitigate the risk of inappropriate spending practices with regard to conferences, approval of conference-related activities and expenses shall be cleared through the Deputy Secretary (or equivalent).”
It’s unclear how the ban on fancy food will affect morale or attendance at agency meetings. After all, one DOJ official told the IG that important people expect good food and lodgings for meetings.
The official, from the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys told the IG that, “only a four or five star hotel was capable of providing the level and quality of services expected by senior executives and other political appointees.”
Looks like some folks are going to have to lower their expectations.