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IRS official apologizes for lavish conference in Anaheim

June 7, 2013 at 8:47 AM

WASHINGTON, June 7 (UPI) -- The IRS official who signed off on a $4.1 million conference in Anaheim, Calif., apologized for excessive spending and said the agency used poor judgment.

Faris Fink, commissioner of the IRS' small business and self-employed division, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Thursday such a lavish meeting would not be allowed today because the IRS is "now in a very different environment."

The committee is investigating nearly $50 million spent on conferences for the IRS from fiscal 2010 to 2012.

"In hindsight, many of the expenses that were incurred should have been more closely scrutinized or not have been incurred at all," he said.

The most expensive of the conferences was one in Anaheim for three days in 2012. IRS officials are under fire for accepting thousands in perks for deciding to hold the conference in California over other hotels in Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas, The Washington Post reported.

An email from an employee, whose name was not reported, at the Anaheim Marriott showed the event cost $1 million more there than it would have in Orlando or Las Vegas.

An email, from Jill Mirich, another employee at the hotel, showed IRS managers received $1,162 in free food and drinks as gifts.

"It is to be kept confidential," Mirich told an employee of an after-hours party held in private suites.

"The beer and wine will be paid by a credit card given to you at the end of the function by Mr. Donald Toda or Fred Schindler," she said. "Do not post to room it can't be shown as room charge."

The last line was underlined in the email.

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