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He said the IRS‘ actions were “inept, stupid” — but not an Obama administration plot to go after conservatives.

“Republicans are looking for a conspiracy where there isn’t one,” he said.

Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, said Mr. McDermott sounded like he was blaming the groups, not the IRS, for the intrusive scrutiny.

Coupled with the latest report detailing waste of taxpayer money, the IRS appears destined to remain in the headlines for some time.

Mr. George’s report found that the agency spent nearly $50 million for conferences between 2010 and 2012, but the one in Anaheim was the most expensive, with an average cost of $1,584 for each of the 2,609 participants.

The IRS said in its response that it has already cleaned up some of the abusive practices.

“During the past three years, the IRS has put in place an extensive series of procedures with regard to conferences,” Pamela J. LaRue, the agency’s chief financial officer, said. “Clearly, a conference like this from three years ago — and many of the instances described — would not take place under our expanded and strengthened oversight process.”

The report comes at a time when most agencies are tightening their belts in response to the budget sequesters which took effect in March, and have forced across-the-board cuts and employee furloughs.