Putting out think tank studies to make a partisan point is a decades-long tradition in Washington.
One that came out last week offered a dose of irony to go with its claim that the Environmental Protection Agency is imposing an increasing burden of rule-compliance paperwork on the economy.
The two-page analysis, by the conservative American Action Forum, declared that “using Bureau of Labor Statistics calculations, AAF finds that EPA’s red tape burden consumes roughly $10.5 billion in annual economic activity” and “has increased by 30 million hours – 20 percent – since FY 2007.”
No word on the ethnicity of the BLS employees doing the calculating — something that at one time would have been of great interest to AAF’s founder and board chairman, Fred Malek.
Malek was a White House aide when he compiled a list of BLS employees with Jewish-sounding last names at the request of President Richard Nixon, who was worried that a “Jewish cabal” had too much influence in the agency.
Malek, who went on to become a venture capitalist and a Republican fundraising stalwart, apologized for his actions. But the BLS incident remains a lightning rod, especially for Democrats, who sharply criticized Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell when he appointed Malek to head a government reform task force in 2010.
Malek’s AAF board colleagues include former Netscape CEO James Barksdale, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Minnesota Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.
The board also includes at least one political figure who could make eventual use of Malek’s fundraising prowess — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a potential GOP presidential candidates in 2016.
USA Today clip on Malek’s stature as a Republican fundraiser:
Malek bio from AAF website: