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IRS Wasted $60K On A Star Trek Parody Video

From the Associated Press:

IRS admits $60K ‘Star Trek’ spoof highly illogical

March 22, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nobody’s going to win an Emmy for a parody of the TV show "Star Trek" filmed by Internal Revenue Service employees at an agency studio in Maryland.

Instead, the IRS got a rebuke from Congress for wasting taxpayer dollars.

The agency says the video, along with a training video that parodied the TV show "Gilligan’s Island," cost about $60,000. The "Star Trek" video accounted for most of the money, the agency said.

The IRS said Friday it was a mistake for employees to make the six-minute video. It was shown at the opening of a 2010 training and leadership conference but does not appear to have any training value…

So where was this conference? Las Vegas? Hawaii?

The video features an elaborate set depicting the control room, or bridge, of the spaceship featured in the hit TV show. IRS workers portray the characters, including one who plays Mr. Spock, complete with fake hair and pointed ears.

Let’s hope they got copyright clearances from Paramount.

The production value is high even though the acting is what one might expect from a bunch of tax collectors. In the video, the spaceship is approaching the planet "Notax," where alien identity theft appears to be a problem.

"The IRS recognizes and takes seriously our obligation to be good stewards of government resources and taxpayer dollars," the agency said in a statement. "There is no mistaking that this video did not reflect the best stewardship of resources."

The agency said it has tightened controls over the use of its production equipment to "ensure that all IRS videos are handled in a judicious manner that makes wise use of taxpayer funds while ensuring a tone and theme appropriate for the nation’s tax system."

The agency also said, "A video of this type would not be made today."

But a few weeks from now, when the heat is off, they’ll go right back into production.

The video was released late in the day Friday after investigators from the House Ways and Means Committee requested it.

Gee, yet another Friday afternoon news dump.

"There is nothing more infuriating to a taxpayer than to find out the government is using their hard-earned dollars in a way that is frivolous," said Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. "The IRS admitted as much when it disclosed that it no longer produces such videos."

Have they disbanded their television studios, fired their staffs and sold off their equipment?

The film was made at an IRS studio in New Carrollton, Md., a suburb of Washington. The agency said it uses the studio to make training films and informational videos for taxpayers.

"The use of video training and video outreach through the in-house studio has become increasingly important to the IRS to reach both taxpayers and employees," the agency said. "In the current budget environment, using video for training purposes helps us save millions of dollars and is an important part of successful IRS cost-efficiency efforts."

The real scandal here is that the IRS even has the facilities to make video programs. In fact, I suspect that most government agencies now have their own TV studios.

IRS YouTube videos have been viewed more than 5 million times, the agency said. A video on the IRS website called "When Will I Get My Refund?" has been seen 950,000 times this filing season.

Did the IRS get any money back from Google for the ads? That should be a lot of money in ad revenue.

The disclosure of the "Star Trek" video comes as agencies throughout the federal government face automatic spending cuts, including employee furloughs at many of them.

But there is no where to cut spending in the federal government. Not even 1%.

Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller has told employees they could be furloughed five to seven days this summer. The furloughs, however, will be delayed until after tax filing season so refunds should not be affected…

In fact, they will probably be delayed forever. Nobody is outraged at the thought of IRS workers being furloughed. Most people would like to see them furloughed forever.

Congressional investigators initially sought both the "Star Trek" video and the "Gilligan’s Island" video but after viewing them determined that the "Gilligan’s Island" video was a legitimate training video. The IRS did not release the "Gilligan’s Island" video.

"The video series with an island theme provided filing season training for 1,900 employees in our Taxpayer Assistance Centers in 400 locations," the IRS said. "This example of video training alone saved the IRS about $1.5 million each year compared to the costs of training the employees in person."

Let’s see the tape, and see exactly how much "training" was actually involved.

We should also add that CBS News only got the ‘Star Trek’ clip after filing a Freedom of Information request. The IRS had earlier refused to turn over a copy to the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax issues.

Also, according to CBS, the TV studio at the IRS "may have cost taxpayers more than $4 million dollars last year alone."

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, March 25th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “IRS Wasted $60K On A Star Trek Parody Video”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    Look, let’s get something straightened out and nailed down.

    It’s not our money. It’s their money.

    Our money, citizen’s money, is described and defined as real property in the Constitution and in the original Coinage Act.

    Since the Democrat’s Savior and Messiah, the opium drug war lord and infamous anti-Semite Franklin Delano Roosevelt confiscated our property (gold) and Treasury Certificates and replaced these with notes … and then issued privately owned scrip masquerading as real currency …. you should know by now that Federal Reserve Notes are their money not your money and … their money, their rules.

    Get over how they screw you right in the (blank), then stick you with the bill.

  2. untrainable says:

    There’s parody, and then there is just plain bad. For other trekers out there, I put this one down as a Dunsil, and that’s being very kind.

  3. canary says:

    American tax payers will pay for

    Wine Tasting Express Trains 640,000

    Elvis Music Boat tour 308,000

    All Day Long Hammer-in 664,000

    Salem Witch Hunt 628,000
    and more…

    instead of re-opening the White House for Public Tours. Senator Tom Coburn tells no security has been cut from the White House.


    I don’t understand why Americans are paying for these tours in the first place.

  4. canary says:

    60,000 for a six-minute video? Can’t imagine what Obama’s White House production company filming his life documentary is going to cost. We’ll never know. But the security for he and Michelle’s security for magazine articles and cover stories has got to be near a billion dollars.

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