The U.S. government did not pay $16 for each muffin served at a legal conference after all, the Justice Department inspector general's office said on Friday, contradicting an earlier report that caused an uproar.
A spokesman for the office said it had based the $16 muffin on documents showing an invoice from the Capital Hilton Hotel of $4,200, including gratuity and service charge, for 250 muffins at the August 2009 conference in Washington.
The report, released on Sept 20, generated widespread news coverage and prompted President Barack Obama to order federal agencies to review expenses for conferences.
After the report was issued, the Capital Hilton said other food and beverage items, such as coffee, tea and fruit, were included in the charge, according to the spokesman.
While the inspector general's office backed down on the $16 muffins, it said it remained critical of the amount paid for food and beverages as too expensive.
Even if the $4,200 fee included additional food and beverage items, the office still believes, as stated in the report, "that many individual food and beverage items listed on conference invoices and paid by the department were very costly," the spokesman said.