Of course, it would be embarrassing to actually stand in front of my colleagues and talk about Ted Nugent's archery, so I'll just make it seem as if I did. To make it extra convincing, I'll use phrases like, "Mr. Speaker, I rise today . . . " The additions cost taxpayers millions, but so what? They don't cost me anything.
The waste calculates out to almost $675 a page. Derek Vaught's father didn't mind: "If they're going to waste money," he told us, "I'd just as soon they wasted it on my son."
I confronted one representative about it. He'd used the Record for tributes to his grade school, a friend who collected antique cars, the local tennis pro, etc.
He shouted at me: "John . . . what the hell are you doing? . . . Jacking me around with these other politicians who are so dumb they can throw themselves to the ground and miss, who blow hundreds of thousands of dollars on free mail, which I don't abuse, and you're here, talking to me about giving some tributes for achievements made?"
The congressman, Jim Traficant, later was busted for other frauds, and he's now in prison. But as the website FreeTraficant.com says, "Traficant's error wasn't committing fraud and taking money. His error was doing it old style."
Public officials commit fraud all the time. But because they write the rules, they call it "public service."
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