Besides slowing down Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the formation of telecom monopolies, if there's one thing the Justice Department can't resist, it's $16 muffins or $7 Beef Wellington bites. A report [pdf] released by the DOJ's inspector general found that in conferences it hosted from 2007 through 2009, the department paid way too much for coffee, candybars, and a bunch of other overpriced food that the lawyers need to feel special.

"Some conferences featured costly meals, refreshments, and themed breaks that we believe were indicative of wasteful or extravagant spending," the report reads. Those "themed breaks" include one at a conference on violence against women in San Francisco, where attorneys received "Cracker Jacks, popcorn and candy bars at a single break that cost $32 per person." So, the theme here was "Low Blood Sugar Hurts Women?" Coffee and tea at another event was priced at $1.03 an ounce, and it wasn't even Café Grumpy!

The report indicates that some of the spending was accepted because hotels and meeting centers discounted or waived their meeting fees. Loose guidelines for spending during "cooperative" gatherings with other agencies that allowed for higher budgets, like when 300 DEA and the DOJ employees got together and had two coffee breaks that cost $15,600.

Recommendations have been made to close the loopholes and rein in spending, but it appears the damage has already been done: a reference to $16 muffins is in the second sentence of the DOJ's Wikipedia page (for now).