Friday, April 20, 2018
Politics

Newly released IRS video shows employees dancing

WASHINGTON — In the latest black eye for the Internal Revenue Service, the agency provided Congress on Friday with another video featuring its employees, this one showing about a dozen of them line dancing on a stage.

The video of the IRS workers practicing their dance moves, which lasts just under three minutes, comes weeks after it was revealed that agency workers produced two other videos parodying the Star Trek and Gilligan's Island TV shows.

The latest recording cost about $1,600 and was produced to be shown at the end of a 2010 training and leadership conference held in Anaheim, Calif., said IRS spokeswoman Michelle Eldridge. At a time when most government agencies are coping with across-the-board spending cuts by furloughing workers and finding other savings, that conference has become the target of a report a Treasury inspector general plans to release next week.

The report, called "Collected and Wasted: The IRS Spending Culture and Conference Abuses," will be the subject of a hearing Thursday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that panel said Friday.

The IRS is also under fire by lawmakers and the Obama administration for targeting conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status for tough scrutiny between 2010 and 2012. That screening, revealed May 10, has led President Barack Obama to replace the agency's acting chief, and two other top officials have also stepped aside.

All three videos were provided in response to a request by a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La.

"The outrage toward the IRS is only growing stronger," said Boustany, who chairs the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. "Clearly this is an agency where abuse and waste is the norm and not the exception."

In a written statement, the IRS said the video was "unacceptable and an inappropriate use of government funds." It said the agency has new policies in place "to ensure that taxpayer funds are being used appropriately."

Eldridge said the dance video was recorded at IRS offices in New Carrollton, Md., outside Washington, D.C.

In the video, various workers comment as colleagues practice their dancing in the background to music that sounds like Cupid Shuffle, a 2007 hit by the performer Cupid. In the version obtained by the Associated Press, IRS employees' names have been erased.

At one point, one woman says, "And I thought doing the Star Trek video was humiliating."

That Star Trek video was produced for the same 2010 conference. The agency called the Star Trek video, which lasted six minutes and featured employees dressed as characters from the popular show, a mistake.

In a separate statement, Danny Werfel, the IRS' new acting commissioner, called the 2010 conference "an unfortunate vestige from a prior era."

He added, "While there were legitimate reasons for holding the meeting, many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have occurred."

Comments
Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

Castor ends speculation: She’s running to be Tampa’s next mayor

TAMPA — For months, Tampa political aficionados have speculated: Will she or won’t she?Does Jane Castor, the city’s first woman police chief and presumed heavyweight mayoral candidate, really want the job? Asked and answered. Castor filed paperwork T...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Published: 04/19/18
Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

Hernando clerk of the court announces resignation to run for judicial seat

BROOKSVILLE — Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Don Barbee this week submitted his resignation — effective Jan. 7 — to run for an open circuit judge seat.Barbee, who is in the middle of his second term, said he made the move "with a tremendo...
Published: 04/17/18
Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Poll: Democrats’ advantage in midterm election support is shrinking

Democrats hold an advantage ahead of the midterm elections, but a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that edge has narrowed since January, a signal to party leaders and strategists that they could be premature in anticipating a huge wave of victorie...
Published: 04/16/18
Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

Spokesman: Former first lady Barbara Bush in failing health

HOUSTON — Former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and won’t seek additional medical treatment, a Bush family spokesman said Sunday. "Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors...
Published: 04/15/18
Trump assails Comey in tweetstorm, calls for ex-FBI director to be imprisoned

Trump assails Comey in tweetstorm, calls for ex-FBI director to be imprisoned

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump attacked James Comey in a fusillade of tweets Sunday morning, calling for the former FBI director to be imprisoned as Trump served up a number of his favorite theories and alleged misdeeds without evidence.Trump’s ...
Published: 04/15/18
President Trump’s approval rating is back near first-100-day levels

President Trump’s approval rating is back near first-100-day levels

President Donald Trump’s approval rating stands at 40 percent in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, slightly more than his 36 percent approval rating when last measured in January. It’s also the highest he’s enjoyed in Post-ABC polling since his fi...
Published: 04/15/18
Gun rights advocates holding rallies at state capitols in US

Gun rights advocates holding rallies at state capitols in US

DOVER, Del. — Gun rights supporters — many carrying rifles and ammunition — gathered at state capitols across the U.S. on Saturday to push back against efforts to pass stricter gun-control laws that they fear threaten their constitutional right to be...
Published: 04/15/18
Trump, Abe to meet as U.S.-Japan relationship shows strains over N. Korea, trade

Trump, Abe to meet as U.S.-Japan relationship shows strains over N. Korea, trade

President Donald Trump will welcome Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago this week in an effort to shore up their relationship amid strains in the U.S.-Japan alliance ahead of Trump’s potential summit with the leader of North Korea.Abe is...
Published: 04/14/18
Haley warns that US forces ‘locked and loaded’ if Syria stages another chemical attack

Haley warns that US forces ‘locked and loaded’ if Syria stages another chemical attack

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations told the Security Council on Saturday that the United States is "locked and loaded," ready to launch another military strike if the Syrian government ever uses chemical weapons again."I spoke to the president...
Published: 04/14/18