WASHINGTON — Democrats sharply criticized Republicans on Wednesday for using career civil servants at the Treasury Department to prepare a critique of tax policies that was apparently used to attack Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, demanded that the White House halt what she described as the "inappropriate use of taxpayer funds to research a Democratic tax plan."
Republicans said that the analysis was appropriate and that similar analyses were conducted in the Clinton administration and used to attack tax plans that Republicans in Congress proposed.
In mid-March, a staff member for Representative Tom DeLay of Texas, the Republican House majority leader, asked the department to provide an analysis of proposals to increase taxes on taxpayers who make more than $200,000 — similar to a plan offered by Mr. Kerry. In a few days, a department official said, the analysis went to Mr. DeLay. Mr. DeLay's spokesman, Stuart Roy, said the material was then sent to all Republican House members, as well as outside interest groups. The events were reported on Wednesday in The Wall Street Journal.
On March 22, the day the department issued a news release on the effects of the proposals, the Republican National Committee issued a release announcing a new Web site attacking Mr. Kerry called the "John Kerry $pendometer."
© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company