WASHINGTON (AP) — In the latest black eye for the Internal Revenue Service, the agency provided Congress on Friday with another video featuring its employees, this one showing about a dozen of them line 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.
The latest recording cost about $1,600 and was produced to be shown at the end of a 2010 training and leadership conference held in Anaheim, Calif., said IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge. At a time when most government agencies are coping with across-the-board spending cuts by furloughing workers and finding other savings, that conference has become the target of a report a Treasury inspector general plans to release next week.
The report, called “Collected and Wasted: The IRS Spending Culture and Conference Abuses,” will be the subject of a hearing Thursday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that panel said Friday.
The IRS is also under fire by lawmakers and the Obama administration for targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status for tough scrutiny between 2010 and 2012. That screening, revealed May 10, has led President Barack Obama to replace the agency’s acting chief, and two other top officials have also stepped aside.
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 written 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.”
Eldridge said the dance video was recorded at IRS offices in New Carrollton, Md., outside Washington, D.C.
In the video, various workers comment as colleagues practice their dancing in the background to music that sounds like “Cupid Shuffle,” a 2007 hit by the performer Cupid. In the version obtained by The Associated Press, IRS employees’ names have been erased.
At one point, one woman says, “And I thought doing the ‘Star Trek’ video was humiliating.”
That “Star Trek” video was produced for the same 2010 conference. The agency called the “Star Trek” video, which lasted six minutes and featured employees dressed as characters from the popular show, a mistake.
The “Star Trek” and “Gilligan’s Island” videos cost about $60,000 combined to make, the IRS said in March.
The “Gilligan’s Island” parody was used at the beginning of a 12-hour video the IRS used in 2011 to train its workers on various tax issues, Eldridge said. The entire video was used to train 1,900 workers who assist taxpayers over the phone and in offices around the country, she said.
In a separate statement, Danny Werfel, the IRS’ new acting commissioner, called the 2010 conference “an unfortunate vestige from a prior era.”
He added, “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.
In a statement, the Treasury Department — of which the IRS is part — said it puts “the highest priority on protecting taxpayer dollars.” It said it would work with Werfel as he reviews his agency’s operations and tries to “restore public confidence in the IRS.”
The 2010 conference was attended by 2,600 IRS workers from 350 offices around the country that handle tax returns for small businesses and self-employed individuals, Eldridge said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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