Congressional Budget Office, Striving for Neutrality, Finds Itself Under Withering Attack

In Economy, Taxes On

Mr. Hall, who made a small donation to the Republican National Committee in 2004, made his name in Washington holding top positions in the Republican administration of President George W. Bush. He served as chief economist for the Council of Economic Advisers and at the Department of Commerce before Mr. Bush tapped him in 2008 to lead the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There he became known as the “recession commissioner” because he was charged with the grim task of announcing millions of job cuts as the economy cratered.

Friends and former colleagues of Mr. Hall describe him as “low key”: someone who is more an erudite academic than a political punching bag.

“He is a no-drama kind of person,” said Erica Groshen, who succeeded Mr. Hall as commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “He is not the kind of guy who is going to try to circumvent the professional work of the agency or to try to skew it in one way or another.”

Although its critics often question its statistical models or economic assumptions, to those who have worked at the C.B.O. the notion that it could cook its books is hard to fathom. The office is closely advised by expert advisory panels, and it frequently seeks comment from policy specialists from all political persuasions.

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