More Muffins

This is entirely a “told you so” post. But both the hotel and the DoJ have refuted the inanity of the accusation.

The Justice Department says their Inspector General’s conclusion that they paid $16 per muffin at a legal conference in 2009 is, pardon the pun, half baked.

“Under a complete accounting of the services provided for the Executive Office for Immigration Review conference, it is clear that the muffins did not cost $16,” DOJ spokeswoman Gina Talamona said in a statement.

“The abbreviated banquet checks did not reflect all of the food and services provided,” Talamona said in an email to reporters. “The package consisted of food, beverages, staff services and function space, including a 450-seat ballroom and more than a dozen workshop and breakout rooms each of the five days of the conference.”


Those alleged $16 muffins everyone is up in arms about? Turns out they came with fruit and drinks.

Pete Yost of the Associated Press reports that Hilton Worldwide, which manages the Capital Hilton where the 2009 legal conference mentioned in the Justice Department’s Inspector General report took place, says the breakfast “included fresh fruit, coffee, juice, muffins, tax and gratuity, for an inclusive price of $16 per person.”

“Dining receipts are often abbreviated and do not reflect the full pre-contracted menu and service provided, as is the case with recent media reports of breakfast items approved for some government meetings,” Hilton’s statement said.



“$16 Muffins”

I expect those prices at my local pot store but doubt these had secret ingredients! Well, there is a “secret ingredient”: malice. This is a deliberate — or ignorant — distortion of the reality.

Department of Justice’s $16 muffins is now a symbol of waste. Even if it isn’t.

Were those just really good cookies? Is the government really throwing around our money just like that? Not at all, reports Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. As anyone who has ever booked a conference knows, the “food costs” are seldom the actual cost of the item itself, but also the cost of set up, break down, gratuity, taxes, utensils and other various necessities that go along with the food being served. As Drum says, “I’m surprised DOJ even got that much of a breakdown. Far more commonly, your event person negotiates what kind of refreshments you’ll get, and the invoice ends up looking something like this: Refreshment table (bev/morn/aft) — 5 days………………..$39,500.”

But the toxic politics in our nation makes mountains out of . . . nothing.