Republicans are furious about the “Cupid Shuffle.”
They accuse the IRS of wasting taxpayer dollars by teaching employees how to line dance, allegedly on company time. And GOP lawmakers say they can prove their claims: They have a video.
The House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California, released a video of an African American IRS employee teaching a group of IRS workers how to dance the “Cupid Shuffle.”
The IRS shot the video as a spoof at a 2010 agency conference in Anaheim, Calif. where “Down, Down, Do Your Dance” was the line dance song of choice.
“Get in line now,” one African-American IRS employee shouts to a group of IRS workers who were being taught a line dance. “Chop, chop!”
“After countless hours of hard work and one broken leg,” the moderator says in the video, “the employees end up picking up on the shuffle and have fun.”
It’s unfortunate that a black IRS employee is at the center of the video and highlighted by Republicans showing her teaching a group of black and white IRS employees how to line dance. Some radical conservatives will undoubtedly attempt to link President Barack Obama, America’s first black president, to dancing and wasteful spending.
In the future, however, it would probably behoove the government’s black employees to show some restraint and consider the consequences of these actions before videotaping this kind of behavior since they know Republicans are just waiting for any excuse to lower the hammer on Obama.
As expected, Republicans quickly seized on the video as a part of a widening probe of the IRS, which is accused of wasteful spending on conventions and training programs. A House committee said the IRS spent $50 million to hold at least 220 conferences for employees between 2010 and 2012.
Is this appropriate behavior for government employees? No.
But here’s a real outrage: Republicans are wasting time criticizing the “Cupid Shuffle” while they continue to block funding for critical programs like Head Start, that provides low-income children with health and nutritional needs; Pell Grants that help low-income students pay for college; and quality health care initiatives for Americans who can’t afford to visit a doctor.
While the president is lobbying for Congress to pass legislation that would help millions of disenfranchised Americans, Issa’s committee is fixated on the “Cupid Shuffle” and plans to feature the video in an upcoming hearing as a glaring example of how some IRS employees are wasting taxpayer money.
The release of the video comes just days before the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is prepared to release a report about the IRS targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
“Whether it is the tens of thousands of hard-earned taxpayer dollars spent to produce frivolous entertainment for agency bureaucrats, or the IRS’s own admission that it targeted the American people based on their personal beliefs, the outrage toward the IRS is only growing stronger,” Boustany said in a statement.
Obama has already taken ownership of the problem by denouncing the IRS leadership, and acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel said the upcoming report will show “an unfortunate vestige from a prior era.” Calling the expenses from the conferences “inappropriate,” Werfel said similar incidents won’t happen again.
Meanwhile, Republicans will continue to waste taxpayer-funded hearings criticizing the “Cupid Shuffle” instead of passing critical legislation that would help improve the quality of life for countless Americans who are struggling every day to make ends meet.
It’s the worst kind of hypocrisy.