The IRS spent $135,350 on 15 guest speakers at a single conference in Anaheim, according to a report by the Treasury Inspector General’s report, released by the House Government Oversight Committee Tuesday. The report states that the IRS spent $50 million on such conferences between 2010 and 2012.
The average speaker at the Anaheim conference made $9,000, according to a list of the 15 speakers. The IRS paid for the $4 million conference with unused funds originally intended to hire more enforcement personnel.
A breakdown of spending from the report:
• The IRS reported that it expended $50,187 on videos for the conference, but was unable to provide any details supporting this cost.
• IRS management contracted with 15 outside speakers for presentations at a total cost of $135,350. Costs for outside speakers included a $17,000 fee for a keynote speaker whose presentation included creating six paintings of famous people to reinforce his message of finding creative solutions to challenges. Two of the paintings were given away at the conference, three were donated to charity, and one was lost, according to IRS management. Another keynote speaker was paid $27,500 which included a $2,500 fee authorized for first class airfare.
• IRS employees made three planning trips at a cost of approximately $35,800 prior to the conference.
• The IRS also paid over $30,000 for 45 IRS employees who reside in the local area to stay at the hotels and incur per diem expenses while at the conference.
• Numerous gifts/promotional items were provided to attendees at an estimated cost of more than $64,000.