An IRS Star Trek parody video has prompted a formal apology from everybody's favorite government agency. Faris Fink, an IRS executive who appears in the video as Mr. Spock, apologized for the video and for some of the IRS's other excessive spending habits in a hearing on Capitol Hill today.
The video was produced for an IRS training conference in 2010. Another video - a Gilligan's Island parody - was also produced. The two videos together cost approximately $60,000 to produce. That is, of course, sixty thousand taxpayer dollars. While that may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, the conference for which the videos were produced cost several million. According to Fink, the IRS doesn't actually know how much the conference cost, but said it could well have been upwards of $5 million.
This is not, of course, the only IRS scandal going on at the moment, nor even the most prominent one. The agency is currently facing intense scrutiny following reports that IRS workers in the agency's Cincinnati, Ohio office were unfairly giving more intense scrutiny to conservative groups - particularly Tea Party groups - that were seeking tax exempt status.
In his statements on the Hill today, Fink called the production of the video "embarrassing" and said that he regretted it as soon as he saw the finished product. Of course, the fact that the IRS spent $60,000 in taxpayer money on a parody video for a conference is certainly embarrassing enough, but it is not entirely clear whether Fink was talking about the expenditure, or the video itself.
Because to be honest, the video is amazingly, shockingly, spectacularly awful. At just shy of five and a half minutes long, it is one of the most cringe-inducing things you will see on the internet this week (depending, of course, on which parts of the internet you frequent...). While the costuming is bad enough (Next Generation uniforms on the Original Series bridge? Really?) the writing is abysmal and the acting is, well, about what you'd expect from IRS employees. Check it out for yourself below. If you dare...