I wrote earlier that the Obama administration might be overreacting to a report of $16 muffins at a conference. The DOJ IG has now conceded its report was wrong. Of course, the media will not learn any lesson from this and only the best will do a followup story, The problem is we the public are all ready to believe that bureaucrats are invariably wasteful, so we're easy prey to such stories.
I've a vague memory of a flap over government conferences which resulted in a big clampdown in USDA, requiring the Secretary to approve conference. If I recall, the problem there was the conference was held at a sexy location (i.e., some resort with a high style reputation), although because it was off-season it was arguably not a waste of money when you looked at transportation costs as well as housing costs.