Constitutional Daily

Founding Principles

The Tenure Paradox - Robot pimp

Slap on the Wrist for "Non-Consensual Sex" - Lampshade, Esq.

Intelligence: The Gathering - Graphic and Gratuitous

Grads are the New Illegals - Robot Pimp

Meet Entitlement Eric - Robot Pimp

Wherein I Solve World Peace - Lampshade, Esq.

A Necessary Delusion - Shadow Hand

Do you even need to shave overhead? - Lawyerlite

LSAT Jenga - Publius Picasso

Time, Place, and Manner

...Should have some links here or something.


DOJ Muffins Gobble Up Budget, More Catering Than Lawyering

E-mail Print PDF

The Justice Department is in hot water after an internal audit found some pretty wasteful spending at DoJ conferences. In 2009, the DoJ spent $73.3 million on conferences, up from $47.8 million the year before (which was more in line with historical spending).

One of the worst offenders was a conference held by the Office of Violence Against Women. It featured a "Mission Dolores" lunch at a cost of $76 per person. The DoJ guidelines capped lunch costs at $29 per person. The costly lunch was followed by a costly snack of Crack Jacks, popcorn, and candy bars at a price of $32 per person. The conference also had coffee that ran $1.03 an ounce. That's $8.24 for an 8 oz serving, $12.63 for a 12oz tall, and $20.60 for a 20 oz venti.

At that price, you'd better be throwing the coffee on someone actually attacking a woman.


Among the other offenders (from difference offices) were $16 muffins, $10 cookies and brownies, and $5.57 sodas.

While these expenses are clearly indicative of waste, some of the other costs highlighted by the DoJ report run above their guidelines, but are not outside the realm of sanity.

A conference for US Attorneys had a choice of entrees including crusted red snapper, stuffed chicken breast, or beef medallions, all with an assortment of hors d’oeuvres, side dishes, and salads, at a cost of $58 per person. Over the $46.50 dinner cap, but a reasonable price for what was served.

An Amber Alert lunch served beef short ribs, vegetable sides, and a crème brulee desert for $27.50, $8 over the limit for the event. Not a crazy price for lunch, though the same conference had coffee for $0.65 an ounce, or $7.80 for a 12 ounce serving.

A conference for the Executive Office of US Attorneys offered hors d’oeuvres of Beef Wellington, spinach and feta filled phylo, and tuna canape. Including service charges, the Beef Willington and spinach and feta appetizers cost $7.32, while the tuna canape went for $6.71. Serving Beef Wellington at a government conference when government spending is being highly scrutinized is going to look very bad, but $7.32 -including tip and catering fees- is a damn good price.

Many of the cost overruns were allowed because the events were planned through outside companies, or because the cost limits were not yet put in place. However, neither reason really excuses spending $5.57 on a soda. That's money that could be going to hiring junior US attorneys.

[Report of the DoJ Audit Division]

blog comments powered by Disqus

Philadelphia Lawyer, Unfiltered

The finest blend of analysis, advice, and fury on the internet. Sour mash, oak barrel aged, published at cask strength.


Most Recent Article:

In Defense of Risk (Happy Fourth of July)

All Articles from The Philadelphia Lawyer

Author Profile

The Robot Pimp

An in depth look at the emerging intersection of law, behavioral economics, and robots.

Most Recent Article:

The Tenure Paradox

All Articles from The Robot Pimp

Author Profile

Practice Makes Putrid

Legal practice would be all rainbows and buttercups, if it weren't for the clients, and opposing counsel, and co-counsel, and judges, and the law.

Most Recent Article:

Eat Mor Fiv Freedums

All Articles from The Namby Pamby

Author Profile

Gin and Glannon's

As Shadow Hand suffers through law school, the rest of us get a little Schadenfreude.

Most Recent Article:

I Just Work Here

All Articles From Shadow Hand

Author Profile

Irresistible Impulse

Dr. Rob Dobrenski's daring expedition into the psychology of lawyers and the law. (Not a substitute for a life well lived.)

Most Recent Article:

You're Not a Failure, You're a Narcissist

All Articles from Dr. Rob

Author Profile

Graphic and Gratuitous

Sometimes cartoons are the highest form of communication. Those times are known as "most of the time."

Most Recent Cartoons:

Intelligence: The Gathering

All Cartoons

There And Never Back Again

Defunct Big Law attorney BL1Y shares his misadventures as a writer who accidentally went to law school.


Most Recent Article:


All Articles from BL1Y

Author Profile

Lampshade, Esquire

We're dealing with some technical difficulties here. Hold up a minute.

All Articles From Lampshade, Esq.

Staff Infections

News, humor, and other non-billables from our underpaid, uncredited, unsexy staff.


News Articles

Smaller News Bits

Large Numbers of Law

Mixed Bag of Lawesome


Scofflaw Multistate Bar Review