"I don't think the conference -- I think now that we should have been paying closer watch to our expenditures and the expenses," said the IRS official, in response to a question about when he realized the wasteful conference was wrong. "I don't think the conference itself was wrong because of the time that we were in it at the Internal Revenue Service. 30 percent of our managers and small business were brand new. We were going through a very difficult time in trying to get our leaders to recognize --"
A congressman asked, "So when did you think that something was wrong here? Did you ever think something was wrong here?"
The IRS official starts, "As far as the --"
"What do you think is wrong about this picture?" the congressman asked.
"I think now that in reospect, in looking back, that you take a look at the expenses, we should have been more diligent in our responsibility to the American taxpayer and to the American public."
Later the congressman asks again, "When did it strike you that this was wrong?"
"As I said --" the IRS official begins.
"When you got called to testify before Congress?"
"No, sir," responds the IRS official.
"As I said, I do not think that the conference itself, the premise that it was based upon was wrong because of the needs of our employees at that time. I do not think that the conference was wrong."
Yesterday, several outlets reported that the Democrats would "almost certainly" forgo the official conference process to get a health-care bill passed, opting instead to negotiate largely behind closed doors. Now, C-SPAN and other media outlets are criticizing the plan's lack of transparency.