That muffin didn't cost taxpayers $16 after all

October 28, 2011 - 4:40 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Remember the $16 muffin, a sign of government spending out of control? It turns out that all the criticism was half-baked.

The Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General is apologizing for erroneously concluding that a hotel charged the government $16 apiece for breakfast muffins.

The IG's assertion last month prompted widespread criticism of government spending. A swift rebuttal came from Hilton Worldwide, which manages and franchises hotels including the Capital Hilton, the location for a Justice Department conference that served the muffins.

At the time, the IG said it stood by its report that the muffins were indeed that pricey.

On Friday, the IG's office reversed itself, saying that it had received additional information concerning food and beverage costs and that the department did not pay $16 per muffin at the conference by the Executive Office for Immigration Review.

The additional information showed that the muffins were actually part of a modified continental breakfast priced at $16.80 and consisting of items such as pastries, fruit, coffee, tea and juice.

"We regret the error in our original report," the IG said in a preface to its revisions. "After discussions with the Capital Hilton" and the Justice Department, "we determined that our initial conclusions concerning the itemized costs of refreshments at the EOIR conference were incorrect."