IRS Releases New Embarrassing Video Amid Scrutiny

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 1 2013 1:29 PM

IRS Spends $49 Million on Conferences Over 3 Years (And Releases New Embarrassing Video)

Turns out the Star Trek and Gilligan’s Island videos weren’t the only ones. There was also a line-dancing video. Months after the IRS revealed it had paid at least $60,000 to produce Star Trek and Gilligan’s Island parody videos to show at employee conferences, comes word of yet another embarrassing recording. The IRS gave Congress a video Friday featuring employees learning how to dance to the Cupid Shufffle, a 2007 song by Cupid. This video’s budget was much more modest: $1,600, reports the Associated Press. But still, coming at a time when there is increased scrutiny on the IRS it is quickly being seen as yet another example of how the agency wastes taxpayer dollars.

The IRS spent an estimated $49 million on at least 220 conferences over a three-year period beginning in 2010, reveals the Washington Post, citing information from a report that will be released Tuesday. IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel called the spending “an unfortunate vestige from a prior era,”  and said all conference spending has been significantly reduced. The report recalls the investigation into the General Services Administration lavish conference spending that prompted cutbacks and firings of top officials.

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As the tax agency comes under fire, do you remember when the IRS was revered? Well, apparently there was a time the IRS “inspired awe and admiration,”  writes the Associated Press in an interesting look back at the embattled agency. IRS agents were quite popular when it was the taxman who managed to catch Al Capone, for example.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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