The Internal Revenue Service has boldly gone where no government agency has gone before (as far as we know) by spending thousands of taxpayer dollars to create a six-minute “Star Trek” parody video to show at conferences for training purposes.
The video, released by CBS this past Friday, was originally shown at a training and leadership conference back in 2010. It featured costume-clad IRS employees (including pointy-eared Spock) soaring through space toward planet NoTax, with Captain Kirk at the helm. The video was accompanied by a Gilligan’s Island themed skit (for the non-Trekkie conference goers), which together cost $60,000 to produce.
CBS obtained a copy of the video under a Freedom of Information Act request, after the IRS refused to turn the video over to Congress at the request of Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-La).
IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller issued a statement last Friday shortly after CBS released the video. The agency defended both videos, saying they save the agency $1.5 million in training costs each year. However, Miller said the IRS has implemented “tough new standards” regarding the use of its production equipment to ensure similar videos will not be made again. "The IRS recognizes and takes seriously our obligation to be good stewards of government resources and taxpayer dollars," the agency said. "There is no mistaking that this video did not reflect the best stewardship of resources."