The Internal Revenue Service has been rebuked by Congress for using tax-payer dollars to make a "Star Trek" parody training video.
The IRS said the video and another training video that parodied "Gilligan's Island" cost about $60,000 to produce. The "Star Trek" parody, apparently, accounted for most of the cost.
The agency said Friday it was a mistake for employees to use a Maryland agency studio to make the six-minute video. It was shown at the opening 2010 training and leadership conference, but does not appear to have any training value.
The video was released late Friday after investigators from the House Ways and Means Committee requested it.
The set included an elaborate control room and costumes were complete, including Spock's pointy ears. The premise of the film centers around identity theft on the planet "Notax."
The agency claims it no longer makes videos of this type and it has tightened control over use of production equipment in order 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."
"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," said Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany. "The IRS admitted as much when it disclosed that it no longer produces such videos."
The IRS said the video "was a well-intentioned, light-hearted introduction to an important conference during a difficult period for the IRS."