” The IRS held a 2008 conference in Atlanta that included an open bar, elaborate hors d’oeuvres and a video of agency employees dressed as Olympic athletes with makeshift torches.
Two people who attended the three-day event put on by IRS’s Office of Chief Counsel described it as “very lavish” and “over the top.” The agency said Tuesday it cost taxpayers about $2.4 million.
The “grand finale” of the conference, held during President George W. Bush’s administration, was an awards dinner at the Georgia Aquarium catered by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, according to an IRS document provided to The Hill.
“I had not been to anything like that, certainly not put on by the federal government,” said one of the sources. “It was first rate, all the way.”
The other source said, “It was very lavish … the training courses themselves were helpful and informative, but the culture of excess permeated this [conference], including the opening video, the opening-night cocktail and hors d’ouevres reception.” “
Illustration by Rick McKee