Campaign 2010

Apr 26, 2004

The RNC and the Treasury: BFF

In the first press I’ve seen on this, the LA Times breaks the Treasury Press Release - RNC Fact Sheet scandal, which turns out to be more widespread than we thought: 

Last-minute tax filers desperately e-rummaging through the IRS’ website might have run across, at the bottom of several official government press releases, this boldface alarm: “America has a choice: it can continue to grow the economy and create new jobs as the president’s policies are doing; or it can raise taxes on American families and small businesses, hurting economic recovery and future job creation.”

This is startling on two counts: one, by law, government functions — such as official press releases written by workers on a public payroll — and political functions — such as promoting one political policy over another — are twains that should never meet.

Two, that press release language is syllable-for-syllable identical to the language on a Republican National Committee website from the week before.

Now, Los Angeles Rep. Henry Waxman, the senior Democrat on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, tells This Space he’s all for his New York colleague Charles Rangel’s demand for an investigation into this too.

“Last month, the Treasury Department conducted campaign research on the Kerry tax plans,” Waxman says. “Now it has issued press releases with language taken directly from the Republican National Committee. The Treasury Department is funded by the taxpayer and is prohibited by law from engaging in partisan politics. It should not be turned into an arm of the Bush reelection campaign.”

Yes, but with all this extra work, did the IRS employees get their taxes filed on time?

Now I can’t attest as to the actual bubbling-up process, but I will say that I saw this story on Demagogue (piggy-backing on Pandagon), took note, and then put it in our newsletter @Stake last week.  We’re in the process of developing a program to try and harness the sheer digging power of bloggers for this election (which has already had a hand in a number of scandals)- keep an eye out for OINK (online information network and knowledge base). 

Update: Kerry has a petition, go sign.

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