The IRS has been taking a lot of hits lately in the public relations department. You can read in any media outlet about the issues where the Service targeted conservative groups.
I try to avoid politics and just report what is relevant, so here we go: The latest issue with the IRS is a report issued by J. Russell George, the Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration, criticizing the amount of money the IRS spent on conferences. Although it might be nit-picky, some of it does make you raise your eyebrows. For example, the Service spent $1.4 million at a training conference. A total of 132 IRS officials went to a conference in Anaheim in 2010. One of the top officials spent five nights in a room that goes for $3,500 a night.
The report detailing all of these expenses was issued publicly on the same day that the leaders of six conservative groups testified at a congressional hearing concerning what they called abuse from IRS agents in their quest to receive tax exempt status.
The report issued by the Inspector General is not aimed at this controversy involving the tax exempt status of conservative groups. The real impact of the report is that it states there were too many expensive employee conferences that were approved without enough safeguards. However, new rules were imposed in 2011 which should limit some of these expenses.
The report reviewed 225 employee conferences held between 2010 and 2012 at a total cost of $49 million.