A federal auditor shocked the baked goods world Wednesday with the revelation that the Justice Department has been spending $16 per muffin at the conferences it hosts. The steep sticker price on a bakery item consisting of flour, baking soda, eggs and maybe a few blueberries certainly stunned bloggers and politicians alike. "The Justice Department appears to be blind to the economic realities our country is facing," complained Republican Senator Charles Grassley. In a letter to the U.S. Attorney General, Congressman Frank Wolf added "It is clear that while American taxpayers were tightening their belts and making difficult financial decisions, the department was splurging on wasteful snacks." So just how does a single muffin end up costing $16?
The audit by the Office of the Inspector General notes that the $16 muffins were served at a legal training conference in Washington in 2009. But the 148 page report does not detail where the muffins were purchased. Managers we spoke with at upscale bakeries in DC couldn't fathom a $16 muffin. "Unless it's made out of gold, I don't know why it would cost that much," said Tanya Wilson, manager at Baked and Wired in Georgetown. "I'm not sure where in DC they would get that," added Gabby Campbell, a manager at Georgetown Cupcake.