NEW YORK Space: the final frontier. These are the voyagers of the Starship Enterprise Y. Its never-ending mission is to seek out new tax forms. To explore strange new regulations. To boldly go where no government employee has gone before.
Thus begins a six-minute Star Trek parody starring IRS employees and paid for with your tax dollars. It s not likely to go over well with some Americans and members of Congress, especially since federal agencies have been complaining that it s difficult to find trims under forced sequestration.
CBS News filed a Freedom of Information request asking for the video after the IRS earlier refused to turn over a copy to the congressional committee that oversees tax issues: House Ways and Means. According to committee Chairman Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA), the video was produced in the IRS s own television studio in New Carrollton, MD. The studio may have cost taxpayers more than $4 million dollars last year alone.
According to a statement from the IRS, the Star Trek video (see above) was created to open a 2010 IRS training and leadership conference.
Back in Russia, I dreamed someday I d be rich and famous, says one crew member in the parody.
Me too, agrees another. That s why I became a public servant.
And the two fist bump.
A separate skit based on the television show Gilligan s Island was also recorded, but the IRS did not provide that video. The IRS told Congress the cost of producing the two videos was thought to be about $60,000 dollars.
IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller said in a statement that one of the two videos was played in 400 locations and saved taxpayers $1.5 million over what it would have cost to train employees in person.
Nonetheless, the IRS issued a statement that reads: The space parody video from 2010 is not reflective of overall IRS video efforts, which provide critical information to taxpayers and cost-effective employee training critical to running the nation s tax system. In addition, the IRS has instituted tough new standards for videos to prevent situations similar to the 2010 video.
This week, Rep. Boustany called on IRS to give a full accounting of production expenditures at the television studio.
Last year, a controversial General Services Administration (GSA) video surfaced. In it, GSA employees sang and joked about wasteful government spending. It had been shown at a 2010 government convention. Several GSA officials lost their jobs over the controversy.