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Mitt Romney’s Camp Dismisses Tax Analysis, Dings Jim Messina

(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mitt Romney’s campaign ripped a tax analysis that found his proposals would raise taxes on the middle class as “a joke” on a conference call with reporters today, while also suggesting that President Barack Obama’s campaign chief broke the law while he was a White House aide.

Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom dismissed the study by the Tax Policy Center, questioning its authorship and its methodology. But the campaign didn’t release new details of Romney’s plan to defend against the analysis, suggesting instead that the study failed to properly take into account the dynamic effects on the economy from lowering tax rates. A campaign aide said on the call that Romney’s tax proposal is a set of “parameters” that would guide the writing of a tax reform bill in the future, instead of a fully fleshed out plan.

“It’s not as if today we have a 2,000-page tax bill,” said Jonathan Burks, Romney’s deputy policy director. But, he insisted, Romney’s parameters are “achievable.” Those goals include cutting tax rates across the board by 20 percent without losing revenue, shifting the tax burden to the poor or the middle class or raising tax rates on investment income. The Tax Policy Center analysis concluded that those goals simply cannot be achieved, even if the wealthy lose their tax breaks first.

Obama’s campaign has already launched a new ad keyed off of the report, charging that Romney would give himself a new tax cut while sticking viewers with the bill, even though Romney’s tax rate in 2010 — 14 percent — is already lower than what many in the middle class pay.

“He pays less, you pay more,” the ad says.

Fehrnstrom also took a swipe at Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, after a House report found he used private email accounts to conduct public business. “On its face, this appears to be a violation of the law,” he said.

Fehrnstrom added that it was part of a larger failure of transparency in the Obama administration.

“The only thing this administration is transparent on is our national security secrets,” he said.

The Romney camp also signed on to the idea that Olympic medal winners shouldn’t have to pay taxes on their winnings, with Fehrnstrom noting that Romney is friends with many of the athletes from the 2002 Winter Olympics that he managed. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is introducing legislation to give Olympians the tax break.