Post by Babylon Enigma on Jul 18, 2015 20:49:50 GMT -5
James Anthony Traficant, Jr. (May 8, 1941 – September 27, 2014) was a Democratic, and later independent, politician and member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio. He represented the 17th Congressional District, which centered on his hometown of Youngstown and included parts of three counties in northeast Ohio's Mahoning Valley. He was expelled after being convicted of taking bribes, filing false tax returns, racketeering and forcing his aides to perform chores at his farm in Ohio and houseboat in Washington, D.C. He was sentenced to prison and released on September 2, 2009, after serving a seven-year sentence.
In the House, Traficant was known for his flamboyant and eccentric style. He often dressed poorly, with narrow neckties (then out of style), wide-lapel sport-coats and an occasional denim suit. He also sported an unkempt pompadour, which he jokingly claimed he cut with a weed whacker (it was revealed, after his conviction, that he wore a toupée). His trademark closing lines while addressing the House were "Beam me up..." and "I yield back the fact..." His website featured a picture of him swinging a two-by-four with the words "Bangin' away in D.C."
While in Congress, Traficant was a supporter of immigration reduction, and a strong opponent of illegal immigration. In the controversy surrounding the defeat of Congressman Bob Dornan (R-CA) by Democrat Loretta Sanchez, Traficant was the only Democratic member of Congress who advocated a new election, due to Dornan's allegations of voting in that race by undocumented immigrants (the allegations went unproven, and a new election was not held).
Traficant's major legislative accomplishment in the House was the adoption of some of his proposals to constrain enforcement activities by the Internal Revenue Service against delinquent taxpayers.
After the Republicans took control of the House in 1995, Traficant tended to vote more often with the Republicans than with his own party. On the issue of abortion, Traficant voted with the position of the National Right to Life Committee 95% of the time in the 105th Congress, and 100% of the time in the 106th and 107th Congresses. However, he voted against all four articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton. After he voted for Republican Dennis Hastert for Speaker of the House in 2001, the Democrats stripped him of his seniority and refused to give him any committee assignments. Because the Republicans did not assign him to any committees either, Traficant became the first member of the House of Representatives in over a century—outside the top leadership—to lack a single committee assignment.
Defending John Demjanjuk
Traficant championed the unpopular cause of John Demjanjuk, a Ukrainian-born autoworker from Seven Hills, who had been convicted in Israel and sentenced to hang for having been the brutal concentration camp guard Ivan the Terrible For almost a decade, Traficant (along with Pat Buchanan) insisted that Demjanjuk had been denied a fair trial, and been the victim of mistaken identity; in 1993 the Supreme Court of Israel overturned the conviction, on the basis of doubt. Demjanjuk was later deported to Germany on May 11, 2009, after the Supreme Court of the United States refused to overturn his deportation order. Demjanjuk was tried and convicted by a German criminal court of being an accessory to murder, but died before the German Appellate Court could hear his case, thereby voiding the conviction.
Trial and expulsion
In 2002, Traficant was indicted on federal corruption charges for taking campaign funds for personal use. Again, he opted to represent himself, insisting that the trial was part of a vendetta against him dating back to his 1983 trial. After a two-month federal trial, on April 11, 2002, he was convicted of 10 felony counts including bribery, racketeering and tax evasion. Per House rules, he lost his right to vote on legislation pending an investigation by the United States House Committee on Ethics.
Eventually, the House Ethics Committee recommended that Traficant be expelled from Congress. On July 24 the House voted to expel him by a 420–1 vote. The sole vote against expulsion was Rep. Gary Condit, who at the time was in the midst of a scandal of his own and had been defeated in his reelection primary. Traficant was the first representative to be expelled since Michael Myers's expulsion in 1980 as a result of the Abscam scandal.
After his expulsion, Traficant ran as an independent candidate for another term in the House while incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary, Allenwood. He received 28,045 votes, or 15 percent, and became one of only a handful of individuals in the history of the United States to run for a federal office from prison. The election was won by one of his former aides, Tim Ryan.
Wikipedia fails to mention his crimes later proved to be untrue.