Treasury had workers study Kerry's tax proposals
Washington - The Treasury Department directed career employees
to analyze tax ideas proposed by presidential candidate John Kerry
and other Democrats after a request from House Majority Leader
Tom DeLay, officials said Wednesday.
The Republican National Committee posted an interactive
feature on its Web site that attaches the largest of those cost
estimates to Kerry's plan to raise taxes paid by the wealthiest
Bush spokesman Scott McClellan said he was unaware of anyone at
the White House approving the Treasury's decision to analyze Kerry's
Although federal law prohibits civil servants from
working on political campaigns while on duty, Treasury Department
attorneys concluded the work was appropriate, Treasury spokesman
Rob Nichols said.
The Treasury Department posted the analysis on its
Web site March 22.
DeLay, a Texas Republican, requested the cost analysis
to help counter Democratic attempts to amend budget and tax legislation
with tax increases on higher-income taxpayers, DeLay spokesman
Stuart Roy said.
Democrats said the Treasury Department used its
civil servants inappropriately.
"The Bush administration has an ugly habit
of using the federal government for its political agenda,"
said Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton.
The Office of Special Counsel advises that federal
employees cannot "use official authority or influence to
interfere with an election" or "engage in political
activity while on duty." The office is an independent agency
charged with investigating and prosecuting violations of federal
The Treasury Department analyzed the effect of three
tax increases on individuals and couples who earn $200,000 or
more. Kerry has pledged to roll back President Bush's tax cuts
for those earning $200,000 or more.
The first would repeal a tax cut that reduced the
top marginal income tax rate from 39.6 percent to 36 percent.
The second would repeal dividend and capital gains tax cuts for
taxpayers earning $200,000 or more. The third would prevent taxpayers
earning $200,000 or more from claiming full personal exemptions
and itemized deductions.
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