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• The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), which paid the $32-per-person cost for the Cracker Jack and popcorn snacks, also spent $76 a person for a “Mission Dolores” lunch for the 65 attendees at a workshop in San Francisco. The OVW also paid $10 a person for “deluxe” ice cream and spent $1.03 per ounce for coffee and tea.

• The Executive Office for Immigration Review paid for the $16 muffins, all 250 of them, as well as $9.60 apiece for 300 brownies and cookies, for its August 2009 conference in Washington, D.C.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said most of the conferences that were the subject of the inspector general’s report were planned and held during the George W. Bush administration, when there were no strict limits on food and beverage costs for cooperative agreements.

“We agree that excessive spending of the types identified in the OIG report should not occur,” said Gina Talamona, who added that steps have been taken “to ensure that these problems do not occur again.” She said the department recently issued guidance to curtail nonessential spending, and the overall conference spending was reduced in the first six months of fiscal 2011.

According to the inspector general’s report, 4 of the 10 conferences examined occurred during the Obama administration.

In May 2009, Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden sent a memo to all department heads saying that as the department worked to accomplish its mission, “We must also make certain we do so with a focus on accountability and transparency to the American taxpayers.” He told the department heads to ensure that resources were used in the most advantageous and responsible manner.

“I want to emphasize the need to maximize our financial resources, ensure we are prudent in our spending and avoid the fact or appearance of extravagant spending, especially during these challenging financial times,” he said.