Congressional Abuse of Tax Preferences, Circa 1975

June 1, 2006

A questionable use of the already questionable charitable deduction, from a terrific 1976 Tax Foundation study, “The Legislative Branch: The Next Billion Dollar Bureaucracy“:

Members traditionally receive free cloth-bound sets of the Congressional Record for each annual session (5 to Senators and 3 to Representatives) to be used at their discretion. According to this press report, some Members have donated these bound volumes to libraries, educational institutions, etc., and claimed charitable deductions. Internal Revenue Service sources confirmed the practice had been ruled legal.

As an interesting side note, the “press report” mentioned is an article titled “A Tax Break with the Congressional Record,” from the July 26, 1975 edition of the Washington Star—Washington, D.C.’s original newspaper of record, which ceased publication in 1981 after nearly 130 years of publishing. I’d post a link to the story, but to my knowledge there’s no digital record of the Star‘s old archives.


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