WASHINGTON -- J.W. Rayder, chief tax aide to outgoing Rep. Beryl Anthony, has accepted a position in the Washington office of Stephens Inc., a municipal bond underwriting firm based in Little Rock, the firm announced yesterday.

Rayder, who is also staff director of the Anthony Public Finance Commission, will join the firm on Dec. 16, according to Bill Bethea, the firm's senior vice president.

Initially, Rayder will devide his time between the firm's offices in Washington and Little Rock, dealing with tax questions and helping to underwrite municipal bond deals, Bethea said in a statement. He added that Rayder eventually will move to Little Rock.

Although he is leaving Capitol Hill, Rayder will continue to serve as staff director of the Anthony Commission, which the Democratic congressman from Arkansas formed in 1988 to study how the Tax Reform Act of 1986 hampers buying and selling municipal bonds.

Anthony, who will not be returning to Congress next year, has said the commission will stay in existence and take as its goal the education of members of Congress on tax-exempt bonds.

The commission, in fact, is scheduled to transmit a set of legislative proposals on municipal bonds to President-elect Bill Clinton's transition office later this month, Rayder said.

Speculation has persisted in the municipal bond community that both Anthony and Rayder, with their ties to Arkansas and Clinton, would take positions in the Clinton administration.

Rayder said yesterday that even though he is joining Stephens, he would not rule out taking an administration job at some point in the future. Anthony, whose term ends next month, has said he will continue to chair the commission but has not announced any other plans.

Stephens has strong ties to Clinton, according to an article that appeared last month in The Wall Street Journal. Jackson Stephens, the head of the firm, is the leading stockholder in a bank from which Clinton's campaign received a $3.5 million line of credit.

The newspaper noted that Stephens is the top bond firm in Arkansas, having underwritten half of the municipal bond issues sold in Arkansas so far in 1992.

Rayder, who was an aide to Anthony for the past five years, received a law degree from the University of Arkansas, and a Master of Laws in Taxation from Georgetown University Law Center.

In his statement, Bethea said Rayder will coordinate his Washington activities with Vernon Weaver, who has represented the firm here for several years.

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