IRS Spent $10K to Produce Parody of Donald Trump’s ‘Apprentice’
(CNSNews.com) - The Internal Revenue Service spent approximately $10,000 to create a video parody of Donald Trump’s “Apprentice” to show at a 2011 conference held by the IRS’s Small Business/Self-Employed Division (SB/SE).
The video features a group of IRS employees impersonating contestants on the program and one impersonating Donald Trump.
The names of the employees were redacted from a version of the video released by the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday.
In June, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released an audit report that focused on a conference that the SB/SE Division had held in August 2010 in Anaheim, Calif. That conference, attended by 2,609 people, cost the taxpayers $4,133,183.
TIGTA said that for that 2010 conference the IRS spent $50,187 for videos, which included a Star Trek parody featuring IRS employees, and a parody of the song “Cupid Shuffle,” which also featured IRS employees.
“The Star Trek video was approximately 5 minutes and 40 seconds long and featured SB/SE Division executives in Star Trek costumes on a mock set of the Starship Enterprise,” said the IG.
“In addition, a video entitled ‘SB/SE Shuffle’ was produced featuring 15 SB/SE Division executives and managers dancing on a stage,” said the IG report. “This video was 2 minutes and 52 seconds long. This video was shown during the conference and ‘was designed to engage managers and help facilitate a connection between executives and managers.’”
The newly discovered video spoofing Donald Trump was created for an SB/SE conference held in 2011, according to the Ways and Means Committee. It is entitled “The SB/SE Apprentice,” and shows a group of IRS employees sitting around a boardroom table being questioned by another IRS employee, wearing an absurd wig, and playing the role of Donald Trump.
In an ironic moment, the faux Trump in the video confronts a female contestant who interrupts him after two other IRS employees are unable to tell the faux Trump what “assignment” the contestants had been given. She then explains: “Our project was how to have an effective CPE [Continuing Professional Education session] for SB/SE leaders without spending a lot of travel money.”
The Trump character says: “You were subject to long hours, grueling mental challenges, and innovative thinking.”
CNSNews.com asked the IRS about the date, location and cost of the conference at which the Donald Trump “Apprentice” parody was shown to IRS employees.
"The video made in 2011 is from a prior era and does not reflect the stringent policies IRS now has in place to ensure that all training videos are made at the lowest possible cost and with appropriate content," said the IRS in a statement sent to CNSNews.com. "Simply put, this video would not be made at the IRS today.
"It’s important to note that video costs by IRS business units are down by 90 percent this year compared to a year ago," the IRS said. "In addition, the use of videos provides critical taxpayer information and employee training, which helps the IRS save millions of dollars each year."
The TIGTA audit report released in June included a list of IRS employee conference from 2010-2012. That list showed the SB/SE division holding seven conferences in 2011. The most expensive of these cost $480,638. It convened 332 people at the Marriott Waterside Hotel and Marina in Tampa, Fla.
“Another day, another example of abuse and waste at the IRS,” said Rep. Charles Boustany, chairman of the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, which released the video after obtaining it from the IRS.
“Months ago, I demanded the IRS come clean about the time and money it spent to produce these frivolous videos," said Boustany. "While we may have no answers, we do have an endless supply of what appears to be the IRS’s idea of entertainment. 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.”
Here is the Star Trek parody that the IRS produced for its 2010 SB/SE conference in Anaheim, Calif.: