The author of a new nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) report concluding that tax cuts for upper-income earners in America don’t spur economic growth is a frequent donor to the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama, political donation records show.
Thomas Hungerford authored “Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945” for CRS. The report, published Sept. 14, came to a conclusion that supports Obama’s tax policy.
Hungerford’s LinkedIn profile shows he has worked at CRS since 2005. In 2008, political donation records published by the Center for Responsive Politics show Hungerford donated $3,500 to Obama’s campaign. He gave the president another $500 in August 2012. Since 2009, Hungerford has also donated $2,450 to Democratic Party organizations such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
In October 2000, when he worked as an economist for the Social Security Administration, Hungerford donated $500 to Democratic presidential candidate Vice President Al Gore.
The CRS is billed as a nonpartisan arbiter of facts and, like the Congressional Budget Office and Government Accountability Office, exists to help members of Congress understand issues. When it writes and issues a report, it does so at the request of a member of Congress. Unless that member says publicly that he or she asked for such a report, the identity of the member or members requesting it remains confidential. CRS reports are not automatically disseminated to the public, either.
In an email to The Daily Caller, CRS spokeswoman Janine D’Addario said that the agency “provides non-partisan, objective analysis to Congress.”
“CRS employees are respected public servants of the legislative branch of the federal government, who, in service to the majority and minority in both chambers of Congress, produce objective analyses,” D’Addario said. “At CRS, employees’ personal political views or previous employment are not permitted to influence their non-partisan work for Congress.”
“There is no requirement for Library of Congress, including Congressional Research employees, to disclose their contributions to individuals or to organizations,” D’Addario added.
In a follow-up phone interview, D’Addario told TheDC that this report — like all CRS reports — went through a lengthy review process.
“He [Hungerford] does the analysis, and then the analysis is reviewed by multiple levels before the document is issued.”
“The work that CRS does for Congress is objective and nonpartisan,” D’Addario added. “To help insure that, all of the work that comes out of the organization goes through peer-review, section-review, division-review and then departmental-review. There is a multilayer review process to help ensure objectivity and nonpartisanship. This paper followed that process.”
She said the people who review Hungerford’s work “would be peer review, his immediate supervisor, his immediate supervisor’s supervisor — the manager of the division he’s in — and then CRS has a departmental review panel that reads through every piece that goes out.”
When asked who the reviewers were, D’Addario wouldn’t agree to publicly release a list of everyone involved in preparing and reviewing the report. “That could be compiled, but it’s not something I would share,” D’Addario said.
The reason she gave is “because the way we conduct our research is an in-house activity. It’s just not appropriate to share with the public.”
When pressed again on who was involved in the review process, she said, “CRS stands by the objectivity of its work. All the work we do is intended to be confidential to the Congress.”
“I don’t think I have to prove what I’ve said about CRS’ objectivity and work,” she added.
She also refused to comment when asked if anyone involved with this report has ever donated to a Republican. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment on that,” she said. “Number one, I don’t know. And secondly, I don’t think — that’s about an individual’s personal business.”