Why Does the IRS Have Its Own Movie Studio?

IRS Star Trek video

In the days leading up to the sequester and in the weeks since, Obama Administration officials tried to use scare tactics to drive public opinion in its favor. They called the cuts “draconian” and “unfair.” But this fearmongering hasn’t worked. In fact, President Obama’s approval ratings have taken a dive. The White House didn’t help its cause by canceling tours and then threatening the annual Easter Egg Roll.

There is a lot of waste in the federal budget or individual government departments that still could be cut. The latest comes from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which has spent your dollars on a horribly produced Star Trek-themed training video. CBS News filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain the video:

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.
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.

So the IRS can have a movie studio that both produces terrible quality videos and costs taxpayers $4 million per year, but the White House can’t find enough wasteful spending elsewhere to cut to keep tours running. Seems legit.

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