IRS Wastes Millions on Bizarre Training Videos
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The Fiscal Times
September 9, 2013

Remember when the Internal Revenue Service spent thousands of tax dollars on a bizarre Star Trek parody for “training purpose?”

Well, there’s more where that came from.

On Friday, the House Ways and Means Committee introduced another expensive IRS training video that was produced for a 2011 conference. This time, the agency parodied “The Apprentice,” complete with a fake Donald Trump (and a really bad wig.)But unlike other training videos, “The Apprentice” spoof, which cost $10,000, was never shown to employees, since the conference was cancelled.

The video was released at the request of Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr.(R-LA),the chair of the House Ways and Means subcommittee which oversees the IRS, who demanded that the agency release all of its training videos, the time employees spent producing them and the production costs.

Months ago, I demanded the IRS come clean about the time and money it spent to produce these frivolous videos. While we may have no answers, we do have an endless supply of what appears to be the IRS’ idea of entertainment,” Boustany said.

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Boustany’s request came on the heels of a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) audit of conference spending that revealed the agency had spent more than $60,000 on two parody videos for one conference in 2010.

The IRS distanced itself from the “The Apprentice” spoof saying it was made two years ago under different leadership and “does not reflect the stringent policies the IRS now has in place to ensure that all training videos are made at the lowest possible cost and with appropriate content."

The agency added that it has slashed its spending on video production by 90 percent this year and plans to spend about $139,000. That’s compared to the $2.2 million it spent making videos last year.

Washington Correspondent Brianna Ehley, based in D.C., covers Congress, government agencies and spending issues, health care, and tax and economic policy for The Fiscal Times.