Fake “$16 Muffin” Becomes Image Of Government Waste


It may not quite be “Let them eat cake,” but the new poster child for government waste has been discovered, and it’s the Department of Justice’s $16 muffins.

According to reports after an audit of spending on conferences for the last few years, multiple costs were broken down to provide a better understanding of where the taxpayer money was going. One line item, according to the DOJ Office of Inspector General report — $16 a piece muffins and $10 a piece cookies.

Were those just really good cookies? Is the government really throwing around our money just like that? Not at all, reports Kevin Drum at Mother Jones. As anyone who has ever booked a conference knows, the “food costs” are seldom the actual cost of the item itself, but also the cost of set up, break down, gratuity, taxes, utensils and other various necessities that go along with the food being served. As Drum says, “I’m surprised DOJ even got that much of a breakdown. Far more commonly, your event person negotiates what kind of refreshments you’ll get, and the invoice ends up looking something like this: Refreshment table (bev/morn/aft) 5 days………………..$39,500.”

Like NASA’s $10,000 toilet seat or the Million Dollar Space pen, these government spending myths blossom and proliferate regardless of who is in office. But as always, the accusations cause administrations to jump to alert and crackdown on anything that could be seen as government excess.

Next time maybe they should hit the drive-thru instead.


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Photo credit: Rob Pongsajapan, via wikimedia commons


Blackcat Prowl
Blackcat Prowl7 years ago

People who give it a pass or complain about others' lack, must be pretty flush.

'In the summer of 2005, the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, and International Security (Subcommittee), launched a government-wide inquiry into conference spending. In light of these findings, the Subcommittee expressed concern about the time, money, and human capital spent by federal agencies to sponsor conferences.

Recommendation 6: Evaluate methods to solicit, hire, & assess external event planners to ensure that conference costs comply with FTR & DOJ conference guidelines.

[DOJ] Response: The OJP concurs with the recommendation.'

Despite the DOJ considering the recommendation 'resolved' in 2008, it obviously has not been.

Some in the government considered themselves 'royalty' & deserving of special treatment, ignoring the plights of a majority of the people of the nation.

The government is in great need of being put on a diet.

Veronica F.
Veronica F7 years ago

LMAO - I guess the dumbing down of America has come full circle ... soooooooo many comments decrying this as government waste and truly believing the thoroughly debunked "$16.00" muffin myth when the article CLEARLY states that this is not the case ...

Seriously, far too many people need to go back to school to learn reading comprehension ... well, learn to read in general ...

Matthew Z.
Matthew Z7 years ago

Seriously, the comments here show that our culture has lost all reading and comprehension capabilities.

The article even flatly points out that THERE WERE NO $16 MUFFINS! It is a lie, cooked up by those that want to limit government. But it just obfuscates the real waste and fraud perpetuated by corporations that have cushy contracts with the government.

Everyone cries about those welfare bums, defrauding the system and living off the taxpayer. However, corporate welfare is THREE TIMES that of social welfare programs. And that doesn't even cover the subsidies given to oil companies that make billions, or multi-million international agri-business. Farm subsidies? They go to huge corporations like Monsanto, not your local farmer that is struggling. Oil subsidies? They go to huge multi-national corporations that pay no taxes and ship the oil they do produce to other countries. Where is the outrage here?

Again, the comprehension of some people is terrible. I can see why Republicans want to end public education and make secondary education impossible for the majority to attain. They want to be able to lie to you and manipulate you easier. And it's working.

Jason R.
Past Member 7 years ago

Michael C. has been flagged for his death threat.

Jason R.
Past Member 7 years ago

Right wing propaganda has our people STUPID!!!


Dammit, There Is No $16 Muffin
On the Daily Show Wednesday night, Bill O'Reilly was griping about the great $16 muffin affair and Jon Stewart had no idea what he was talking about. So the whole thing passed without any pushback, and now millions more people think Uncle Sam is paying $16 for hotel muffins.

Once again, then: It's a myth. There were no $16 muffins. It's all just an artifact of the way hotels usually aggregate entire events and bill them to a few line items instead of breaking everything down separately. In fact, for the event in question, DOJ came in exactly on budget. All the details are here.

Now, can we please hear no more about this? [READ MORE]

Michael C.
Michael C7 years ago

Ok, that's it, sheeple get up off of your dead arse's, time to march on Washington, let's bring these criminals to justice, then we will hang them.

Obummer, you have a choice, vacate the WH or know the wrath.

Colleen Maranda
Colleen B7 years ago

Where are the authentic leaders who will facilitate the desperately needed healthy model of community that humanity's most enlightened could provide a blueprint for?

The old system of separation, inequality and conflict through the immature codes of patriotism preserves power and privilege for hidden, corrupt elements that don't respect the sanctity of all life. I hope this Dark Age soon makes way for the healthy paradigm of peace, of small communities sharing and collaborating globally under the values of "matriotism". Everyone's LITERALLY sick and tired of the alternative, whether they're in awareness or not.

Blackcat Prowl
Blackcat Prowl7 years ago

Did they eat all the muffins? What happened to whatever was left over? Was it donated to the hungry?

matthew m.
Matthew m7 years ago

The PRIMARY waste in this country is the military. 50 cents of every dollar goes to the military. That leaves very little for roads,schools, social programs etc.

Jennifer M.
Jennifer M7 years ago

Absolutely ridiculous!! They can buy their own damn food. I can hardly afford to feed myself, why should I be paying for these rich people to eat?? UGH, I absolutely have zero faith in this stupid government. They don't give a crap about any of us!