Newly Released IRS Video Shows Employees Dancing

Friday, 31 May 2013 07:11 PM

 

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WASHINGTON — In the latest black eye to the Internal Revenue Service, the agency provided Congress on Friday with another video featuring its employees, this one showing about a dozen of them dancing on a stage.

The video of the IRS workers practicing their dance moves, which lasts just under three minutes, comes weeks after it was revealed that agency workers produced two other videos, parodying the "Star Trek" and "Gilligan's Island" TV shows. It also comes with the IRS under fire by lawmakers and the Obama administration for targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status for tough scrutiny.

All three videos were provided in response to a request by a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La.

"The outrage toward the IRS is only growing stronger," said Boustany, who chairs the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. "Clearly this is an agency where abuse and waste is the norm and not the exception."

In a statement, the IRS said the video was "unacceptable and an inappropriate use of government funds." It said the agency has new policies in place "to ensure that taxpayer funds are being used appropriately."

The statement said the video was produced for a conference the agency had in 2010.

In the video, various workers comment as colleagues practice their dancing in the background. Names have been erased.

At one point, one woman says, "And I thought doing the Star Trek video was humiliating."

That Star Trek video, produced for the same 2010 conference, along with the "Gilligan's Island" training video, cost about $60,000 to make the IRS said in March. The agency called the Star Trek video a mistake.

In a separate statement, Danny Werfel, the IRS's new acting commissioner, said the Treasury inspector general plans to release a report next week on that 2010 conference. He called that gathering "an unfortunate vestige from a prior era," adding, "While there were legitimate reasons for holding the meeting, many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have occurred."

Werfel said the IRS has since instituted spending restrictions that include scaling back travel and training expenses by more than 80 percent since 2010.

"Taxpayers should take comfort that a conference like this would not take place today," Werfel said.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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