The Washington Post

Baucus wants details on IRS parody videos

You don’t have to be as smart as the Professor on Gilligan’s Island to know how this ends. Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus is now demanding a “line-by-line” accounting of how much the IRS spent to produce two parody videos riffing on “Gilligan’s Island and “Star Trek” and used in agency training.

The AP says the goofy videos — whose “actors” were IRS employees — cost $60,000 to make, but now Baucus wants a breakdown of the spending. How much for the palm trees and tiki mask props used in the Gilligan’s Island set? How much for the surprisingly nifty spacecraft interior used in the Star Trek one? What about those fake Spock ears?

In a statement issued in a “what-did-the-President-know-and-when-did-he-know-it” tone, Baucus demanded answers about the video. “I want to know exactly how this video came to be, exactly who is responsible, and what the plan is for ensuring taxpayer dollars won’t be wasted on another futile endeavor like this again,” Baucus said.

The IRS has previously said it is increasingly using videos as a way of cutting down on travel costs, though it expressed regret about the “Star Trek” video, which was used only as an introduction to other training materials, it said.

Knowing how those IRS types are, it shouldn’t be too hard for them to report all the video-related expenses — after all, they probably kept the receipts. You know, for tax purposes.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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