The issue here is not the cost of the dinner, I don't think. It's the per diem that we have to look at. They each get a minimum $46 CASH, per DAY to use for food while they're traveling, and more depending on their location while they're on the road. That's non-taxable as income. So if they don't spend $46 per day on food, they pocket the balance, tax free. This is only for the convenience of the administrative staff, since they don't need to track receipts when they pay per diem. I say that the per diem cash payments to government employees needs to stop, and they should travel on a straight expenses basis.
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