Last month, the Inspector General for Tax Administration released a report criticizing the Internal Revenue Service for excesses at a conference held in Anaheim, Calif., in 2010, casting negative public glare on the meetings industry once again.
The conference, involving some 2,600 attendees at three hotels, reportedly cost in excess of $4 million.
The news media reacted with outrage, even as acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel's statement attempted to calm the waters: "This conference is an unfortunate vestige from a prior era. While there were legitimate reasons for holding the meeting, many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have occurred."
Some in the industry were sanguine about the news. "I don't think all of the facts are known -- for example, the specifics of the hotel contracts," said industry attorney James M. Goldberg of Goldberg & Associates in Washington, D.C. "I don't see the issue as an attack on meetings per se, but rather an attack on one big Anaheim meeting in particular."
Others are tired of having to defend the industry. "So much of what is being reported is taken out of context, without supporting information about why the meeting professionals in question made the choices that they did," said Elizabeth Zielinski, CMM, left, an independent planner who blogs for M&C.
Read more and join the debate at mcmag.com/planner-blog_ektid55226.aspx