IRS Apologizes for Star Trek Parody, Training Videos Costing Taxpayers $60,000

This video image from an Internal Revenue Service video shows IRS employees portraying “Star Trek” characters in a video parodying the TV show that was made for a 2010 IRS training and leadership conference. (Photo: AP)

(TheBlaze/AP) — Nobody’s going to win an Emmy for a parody of the TV show “Star Trek” filmed by Internal Revenue Service employees at an agency studio in Maryland.

Instead, the IRS got a rebuke from Congress for wasting taxpayer dollars.

The agency says the video, and another parodying the TV show “Gilligan’s Island,” cost about $60,000 to produce.  But apparently the “Star Trek” video accounted for most of the money.

The six-minute clip was was shown at the opening of a 2010 training and leadership conference, but even the Associated Press notes that it “does not appear to have any training value.”

The cringe-worthy spoof features an elaborate set depicting the control room, or bridge, of the spaceship featured in the hit TV show. IRS workers portray the characters, including one who plays Mr. Spock, complete with fake hair and pointed ears.

The production value is high, though the acting is what one might expect from a bunch of tax collectors. In the video, the spaceship is approaching the planet “Notax,” where fraud, money laundering, and alien identity theft appear to be a problem.

IRS Apologizes for Star Trek Parody, Training Videos Costing Taxpayers $60,000

This video image from an Internal Revenue Service video shows an IRS employee portraying Mr. Spock a scene from a video parodying the TV show “Star Trek” that was made for a 2010 IRS training and leadership conference. (Photo: AP)

“Back in Russia, I dreamed someday I’d be rich and famous,” one of the Star Trek tax collectors says during the clip.

“Me too, that’s why I became a public servant,” his friend responds with a grin, “fist bumping” the Russian.

The agency apologized in a statement: “The IRS recognizes and takes seriously our obligation to be good stewards of government resources and taxpayer dollars…There is no mistaking that this video did not reflect the best stewardship of resources.”

It also said it has tightened controls over the use of its production equipment to “ensure that all IRS videos are handled in a judicious manner that makes wise use of taxpayer funds while ensuring a tone and theme appropriate for the nation’s tax system.”

“A video of this type would not be made today,” the agency claimed.

The video was released late in the day Friday after investigators from the House Ways and Means Committee requested it.

IRS Apologizes for Star Trek Parody, Training Videos Costing Taxpayers $60,000

This video image from an Internal Revenue Service video shows IRS employees portraying “Star Trek” characters in a video parodying the TV show that was made for a 2010 IRS training and leadership conference. (Photo: AP)

“There is nothing more infuriating to a taxpayer than to find out the government is using their hard-earned dollars in a way that is frivolous,” remarked Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., chairman of the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. “The IRS admitted as much when it disclosed that it no longer produces such videos.”

The disclosure of the “Star Trek” parody comes as agencies throughout the federal government face automatic spending cuts due to a ballooning and seemingly uncontrollable national debt.

Yet CBS News notes that this isn’t the first time a federal agency has been caught flagrantly wasting taxpayer dollars:

Last year, a controversial General Services Administration (GSA) video surfaced. In it, GSA employees sang and joked about wasteful government spending. It had been shown at a 2010 government convention. Several GSA officials lost their jobs over the controversy.

While the IRS did apologize, it also said the “Star Trek” video was really a “well-intentioned, light-hearted introduction to an important conference during a difficult period for the IRS.”

Watch the entire video, which appears to be tax-related but not at all instructional, below:

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