Uncle Sam Buys $5 Meatballs

Audit criticizes DOJ for wasting taxpayer money on pricey lunches
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2007 8:49 AM CDT
Otis Spunkmeyer cookies are displayed at their booth at the School Nutrition Association's national conference in Chicago on Tuesday, July 17, 2007. As the federal government cracks down on the standards...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Justice Department shells out $5 per meatball and nearly as much for a can of soda when it invites folks for lunch, an audit says. And don't forget the cookies: Justice ran up a $13,000 tab on those at 10 recent conferences. The audit says no laws were broken but it urges Justice to get a better handle on its menus, CNN reports.

A Senate panel requested the audit to figure out why Justice spends so much money on conferences—$46 million last year alone. Pricey food was just one reason, but a big one. At one 2006 conference, the average cost per attendee for food and beverage was $83, which is $19 over the federal per diem rate in D.C.