The IRS commissioner under President George W. Bush is launching a longshot bid for the GOP presidential nomination, saying Republicans need to embrace amnesty for illegal immigrants and take on the big banks.
"I’m trying to confront the base and broaden the base on a certain series of these issues," Mark Everson, who who oversaw President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 immigration amnesty at the Immigration and Naturalization Service, told the Washington Times.
In his Thursday campaign launch, Everson laid out a six-point plan, including a new consumption tax to replace most of the income tax, restoration of the military draft and a pledge to serve just a single term in the White House, the Times reports.
"I am for full-throated comprehensive immigration reform," he told the Times.
"Strengthen the border, you do the interior enforcement and you do the amnesty, the citizenship."
He also vows to take on big banks, which he charges are pushing community banks out of the market.
And under his tax plan, he'd curtail the IRS though not eliminate it, and impose a new consumption tax he claims will cut 150 million Americans off the tax rolls though he'd keep an income tax in place for the wealthiest Americans.
He also says he's ready to face up to a well-publicized affair with a subordinate that cost him his job as president of the American Red Cross in 2007.
"I have made mistakes, but at 60 I am wiser and humbler than I once was," he says in a 16-page open letter to voters.
"Still, I owe no one. I am unafraid to take on the special interests which enrich themselves at your expense."
The letter also mentions an abortion —
an issue he says he opposes except in cases where the mother's life is at stake.
Everson joins an already crowded Republican field, though he remains the only one to have formally filed a statement of candidacy, the Times notes.
"They're raising serious money, but we're going to raise serious issues," Everson told The Associated Press.
The latest poll puts Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker
in the lead among prospective candidates with Bush a close second.
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