The Internal Revenue Service spent an estimated $49 million on at least 220 conferences for employees over a three-year span beginning in fiscal 2010, according to a forthcoming report that will prompt fresh scrutiny of the already embattled agency.
The findings come as the Obama administration is overhauling the agency after officials admitted that dozens of groups were inappropriately scrutinized as they sought tax-exempt status. The admission forced the resignation of the agency’s acting commissioner and has sparked criminal and congressional investigations.
Seeking to get ahead of the fresh controversy, IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel acknowledged the report in a statement late Friday, but he didn’t share any of the findings. He called the spending “an unfortunate vestige from a prior era” and said that the agency has significantly curtailed conference spending in recent years.
The audit is set for release Tuesday and was prepared by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the same entity that confirmed allegations against the agency’s tax-exempt unit. Details of the report were shared by several congressional aides, who were briefed on the report Friday.