While appearing ostensibly nonpartisan, the CBO leadership is stacked with many Obama supporters, former advisers, and campaign contributors. CBO director Doug Elmendorf gave Obama $1000 in 2008, according to FEC records.
Melinda Buntin, the deputy assistant director of the CBO’s Health Services Department, is a longtime progressive and Democratic donor, one-time “spokeswoman” for Obamacare, and student of health care economist and Obama adviser David Cutler, who is also former CBO adviser.
The lead analyst of the impacts report of the 2009 stimulus package’s effects on unemployment, Benjamin Page, is also a Democratic supporter. He donated $2000 to John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004.
The CBO told TheDC News Foundation in an earlier email that “CBO employees are prohibited from participating in partisan political activity if such participation would identify or appear to identify CBO with a candidate, campaign, or cause.”
Tim Murphy disagrees. “I say this doesn’t pass the blind squirrel test,” Murphy said of CBO staff having known political ties. “A blind squirrel could figure this out.”
The issue is larger than just partisanship, however, says Murphy. ”Many of these bills can have a significant economic impact. They are the ones, that if we’re looking at a 16 trillion dollar deficit, that we need to know.”
“What are you looking at, what are your assumptions, what data do you have. It is the same issue of scientific scrutiny when I have written or any one has written a research article and you publish it in a journal. You have to write down your results and how you came up with them.”
While the CBO may historically have been the “gold standard” for objective legislative analysis, Murphy feel it is so in a “take my word for it” kind of way. “I certainly have high regard for them … but show me, show us the math, show us the work, show us the assumptions.”
“I think you should get the folks in there who know how to crunch the numbers in a true nonpartisan way or lets stop calling it the nonpartisan CBO,” he said.
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