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No more $16 muffins for you!

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

It’s all fun and games until someone serves $16 muffins.

The Obama administration is ordering a government-wide review of conference expenses after colleague Jerry Markon wrote his way on to the front page of The Washington Post with news of the Justice Department’s extravagant spending habits at 10 law enforcement conferences.


And if you’re planning to attend a previously scheduled team-building meeting in Las Vegas, or that annual “stakeholder’s conference” in Boca Raton, there’s a good chance it might get canned.

In what will one day rank as one of the greatest of federal watchdog reports, Acting Inspector General Cynthia A. Schnedar and her team faulted the Justice Department for hefty service tabs accrued during conferences hosted at some of the nation’s glitziest hotels. To wit: A $76-per-person lunch at a conference at a Hilton in San Francisco featured slow-cooked Berkshire pork carnitas (yum), hearts-of-romaine salad (always good) — and coffee at $8.24 a cup (seriously?).

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