Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

IRS official apologizes for 'embarrassing' conference videos

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service official who helped organize a $4.1 million California conference featuring parody videos, taxpayer-paid gifts and upgrades to lavish hotel suites apologized Thursday and said the agency used poor judgment.

"In hindsight, many of the expenses that were incurred should have been more closely scrutinized or not have been incurred at all," Faris Fink, commissioner of the IRS small business and self-employed division, said at a congressional hearing.

Fink described a culture at the IRS that did not blink in 2010 at what the Treasury Department inspector general described this week as excessive spending. But Fink, who was promoted the following year, said the agency is "now in a very different environment."

"We would not hold this same type of meeting today," he told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

When asked by Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif. "What were you thinking?" when Fink played Spock in a Star Trek video about a planet with ineffective auditing practices, Fink called the spoof played at the conference "an attempt, in a well-intentioned way, to use humor to open the conference."

"The fact of the matter is that they're embarrassing … they're embarrassing, and I regret the fact that they were made," Fink said of that video and another featuring IRS managers in a line dance that closed the three-day event.

The committee is investigating $49 million in conference spending by the IRS from fiscal 2010 to 2012, focused on the Anaheim, Calif., training event for 2,600 managers in the small business and self-employed division in August 2010.

IRS Inspector General Russell George revealed in an audit this week that the agency paid top dollar for hotel rooms, tens of thousands of dollars for gifts for managers in attendance, and $135,000 for outside event planners to book hotel rooms and speakers, one of whom cost taxpayers $27,500 — plus $2,000 for a first-class plane ticket.

Issa said the IRS was "effectively guilty of tax evasion" when it gave managers lodging in presidential suites, free meals and gifts without disclosing the perks as income.

IRS official apologizes for 'embarrassing' conference videos 06/06/13 [Last modified: Thursday, June 6, 2013 10:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa-based makeup artist disqualified from contest over pro-Trump post

    News

    WICHITA, Kan. — A makeup artist who splits her time between Tampa and Kansas says she won a national contest sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty but was later disqualified because of an Instagram post supporting Donald Trump's presidential candidacy.

    Gypsy Freeman won the contest with this image posted to Instagram. [@facesofgypsy on Instagram]
  2. Flesh-eating bacteria nearly kills Florida man who thought he just had blisters from a hike

    Health

    Wayne Atkins thought little of the blisters he had gotten while hiking. He was trekking up and down the 4,500-foot-high Mount Garfield in New Hampshire - a 10-mile round trip - and blisters were no surprise.

    Wayne Atkins thought his blisters were from hiking, but the flesh eating bacteria nearly killed him. [YouTube]
  3. Yes, again: Rays blow late two-run lead, get swept by Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As weekends go, this was a bad one for the Rays. In a word: brutal.

    Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, foreground, reacts after giving up a home run to Texas Rangers' Carlos Gomez during the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 23, 2017, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) FLMC116
  4. White House offers muddled message on Russia sanctions legislation

    National

    WASHINGTON - White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that the Trump administration supports new legislation to punish Russia for its meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its aggression toward Ukraine.

    President Donald Trump at the commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford  at Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, July 22, 2017. [New York Times]
  5. 'Stranger Things' is coming back; here's the first trailer

    Blogs

    The nostalgia-heavy, small-screen blockbuster Stranger Things returns to Netflix with a new season on Oct. 27 - just in time for a pre-Halloween weekend binge session.

    A scene from the Stranger Things Season 2 trailer.