The Wall Street Journal reports today (3/31/04) that the U.S. Treasury had some of its civil servants do an analysis of John Kerry’s tax plan and then posted it to the government’s web site on March 22.
The analysis purports to show that a rollback of the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $200,000 would result in a tax increase of $477 billion on “hardworking individuals and working couples.”
The analysis was then used later that day by the Republican National Committee as the basis of a press release attacking the Kerry campaign.
The problem with this story is that federal law bars career government officials from working on political campaigns. The WSJ story notes that this incident “raises questions at a time when the Bush administration is already embroiled in controversy over whether it is improperly pressuring government officials.”
“Medicare’s chief actuary has said the administration stopped him from warning Congress that a prescription-drug benefit would far exceed its 10-year cost target. The administation is also engaged in a bitter struggle with former White House counterterrorism official Richard Clarke over whether the Bush administration was lax in fighting terrorism.”
Interestingly enough, it turns out that the analysis had been requested by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas. Last year, DeLay was the one who tried to use the federal Homeland Security Department to track down Democratic lawmakers in Texas who were attempting to break quorum in an effort to stop a Republican scheme to redraw districts in an unprecedented mid-decade electoral power grab.
Not since the days when Richard Nixon would routinely send IRS auditors after his political enemies has an administration been so blatant in its misuse of the powers of government for partisan political purposes.