The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has scheduled another IRS hearing for Thursday. The topic this time? IRS spending on a big conference three years ago. But don’t all government agencies throw these types of team-building shindigs? The answer is: not as much as they used to.
It appears IRS agents, for their part, know how to party. The tax collection agency footed the bill for a training video showing IRS workers learning a line dance they were to perform at a 2010 conference, in Anaheim, California.
The video went viral. Now, the IRS says, travel and training expenses have dropped more than 80 percent.
Jack Pitney, who teaches political science at Claremont McKenna College, says other federal agencies known for big bashes, like the General Services Administration and Pentagon, have also cut back.
“You don’t want your conference or any kind of event to become a YouTube moment,” he explains.
Now, most government gatherings are done with video conferencing. But some say the big, in-person conferences are valuable for networking with industry.
“When you have less face time together between government and industry that ends up costing the government something in the long run,” says Larry Allen, president of the consulting firm, Allen Federal Business Partners.
Allen says demoralized federal workers aren’t up on industry trends, so it’s harder to write contracts for things the government needs from the private sector.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.
Donate now to get almost any thank-you gift.