Last week, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released its report on a 2010 IRS conference, citing instances of IRS conference planners not following established procurement policies. Included in this report were detailed accounts of IRS purchases of promotional products.
The TIGTA report surveyed travel-related spending by the IRS in the 2010-2012 time period. While the IRS held 225 conferences during that time and spent a total of $49 million, a 2010 Anaheim, California, conference for which the IRS spent $4.1 million on planning, speakers, video services, promotional products and gifts for employees has come under particular scrutiny.
PPAI President and CEO Bellantone, CAE, says, “I, like many of you, was disappointed by the IRS’ conduct of late, but I was dismayed by the ensuing media portrayal of our industry. Simply because our products are tangible, memorable and long-lasting—all attributes that contribute to their effectiveness—they are easy targets for sound bites. However, it is important to realize that the media coverage was not an attack on the promotional products industry, but rather focused on the IRS.”
Upon review with its D.C. lobbyists, legal counsel and Government Relations Action Council, PPAI will continue to monitor this situation very closely, but the Association will not attempt to engage members of Congress in a discussion of IRS procurement practices until an environment more conducive to a productive conversation emerges.
As recently as April of this year, PPAI joined industry leaders in front of members of Congress during its fourth annual Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.), and will continue to meet with them to reinforce the industry’s messages regarding the value and effectiveness of promotional products.
Many legislators still don’t fully understand that promotional products are the most cost-effective method for businesses, nonprofits and government entities to market and raise awareness of their programs. Too few elected officials know how essential promotional products are to the marketing mix, and the industry, to the national economy.
Bellantone adds, “I urge you to add your voice to ours and remind your Washington, D.C., representatives that the promotional products industry provides more than 432,000 jobs and nearly $18 billion annually.” Use this link to send an email to your representative right now.