September 6th, 2013
03:52 PM ET
9 years ago

IRS spent $10,000 on 'Apprentice' video

(CNN) - The Internal Revenue Service released a new parody video to Congress on Friday, this time in the styling of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice."

The four-minute video was made for a 2011 Small Business/Self-Employed Division conference and cost $10,000 to produce. The IRS this year came under scrutiny for wasteful spending at conferences, including money spent on other training videos.

Those videos featured IRS employees learning how to dance the Cupid Shuffle and performing roles from Star Trek and Gilligan's Island. Combined, they cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The newly-released video features a group of employees in a dimly-lit board room setting, mimicking Trump's flagship program on NBC. Ironically, the SB/SE leaders sitting before the Trump impersonator were "fired" for failing to come up with enough good ideas to get CPE's (continuing professional education) credits without "spending a lot of travel money."

The low-quality production video was given to the House Ways and Means Committee, which has been investigating the IRS this year for its targeting of political groups as well as wasteful spending practices.

"Another day, another example of abuse and waste at the IRS. Months ago, I demanded the IRS come clean about the time and money it spent to produce these frivolous videos," said Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., chairman of the subcommittee on oversight.

"While we may have no answers, we do have an endless supply of what appears to be the IRS's idea of entertainment," he continued in a statement. "Whether it is wasteful conferences and videos or the inexcusable targeting of taxpayers based on their personal beliefs, there is nothing amusing about the American people footing the bill for this rogue and out of control agency."

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has also been probing the agency.

The IRS says the videos made in 2010 and 2011 "are from a prior era and do not reflect the stringent policies the IRS now has in place to ensure that all training videos are made at the lowest possible cost and with appropriate content."

"Simply put, these videos would not be made at the IRS today," the IRS said in a statement Friday, adding that video costs by IRS business units are down by 90% this year compared to a year ago.

- CNN's Ashley Killough and Dana Bash contributed to this report.

Filed under: IRS
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. jinx9to88

    Dont you love the GOP. They have nothing else to do so they keep trying to smear the IRS since the last witch hunt didnt work out for them. Its getting comical.

    September 6, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. just saying

    everybody at the irs needs to be fired. oops,sorry, they are immune because of their union. nobody can touch them. we're still paying lois lerner her 6 figure salary. this is the nightmare that leftist ideology brings you america. wake up!

    September 6, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    What the IRS has done is a reflection of the culture in the private sector.

    September 6, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Data Driven

    In 2011. No longer.

    Can we focus, please? Lot of important stuff going on out there.

    September 6, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. truth hurts but reality bites

    Rudy NYC
    What the IRS has done is a reflection of the culture in the private sector.

    WOW!! That is blame shifting worthy of the man in the White House!! I can't believe youwrote such rubbish let alone believe it. You're not tipping back early on Friday are you Rudy?

    September 6, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. just saying

    The Real Tom Paine
    Aside from Britain and a few others, how many committed combat troops?
    uk, australia & poland. three more than obama has right now for his escapade. and then there were the 39 other countries that helped out after. where are all of obama's allies? can somebody on the left please answer that??? obama has supposed walked on water and made the world right. where are all of his friends and allies? only the socialist in france has even spoke up with any support (how appropriate is that?!)

    He used cooked intelligence that was cherry-picked
    you mean all of the intelligence that was gathered and acquired while bill clinton was in office? even he as well as all of our allies knew he possessed wmd at some point because he gassed thousands of kurds and iranians. do you deny that saddam used chemical weapons? do you deny that israel also took out a nuclear reactor under construction? it is you that are cherry picking intelligence.

    September 6, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. Tom

    I suspect the IRS is a hard place to work. No one likes you. You usually have to deliver bad news. It's a big, ugly bureaucracy. Morale probably stinks. I'm guessing these videos and off site meetings that are getting a lot of press attention were attempts to make IRS employees feel better about themselves and their jobs. Was it a waste of taxpayer money? Who knows. It makes for juicy headlines, but high IRS employee attrition and poor morale costs taxpayers money too. Then there are the image issues. Everyone, at some point, has run into that bored, uncaring government employee who really doesn't care if they help you or not. People are never going to love the IRS, but if you have deal with the IRS and are treated fairly and professionally you'll probably feel better about the experience. I think these videos and off-sites were attempts to boost IRS employee morale, reduce turnover and improve overall quality of service. In the scheme of things the expense is probably justified (how much do you think a professionally produced video costs? $10K doesn't seem out of line to me). Unfortunately these stories provide fuel for the conservative media outrage machine and are being blown way out of proportion. It sure feels like there have been some serious management blunders at the IRS that should be rectified. But it also feels like this whole story is being exaggerated for political purposes.

    September 6, 2013 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  8. Wake up People!

    Come on IRS, stop wasting money. Ok, ok, it was 2011. But dang I need one of these IRS jobs. Getting paid good money for not much work. It sure beats my situation now. Doing a lot of work for a little money. Que sera sera.....

    Margarita time!!!

    September 6, 2013 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  9. Hal

    Rudy NYC

    What the IRS has done is a reflection of the culture in the private sector.
    How so? I have had a small business for almost thirty years and am part of the private sector. What culture are you referring too?

    September 6, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. Cephus

    Why not disband IRS and change the tax system? Oops the government will lose control.

    September 6, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |