Heroic James Traficant Freed

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My second favorite Congressman ever, Jim Traficant, got out of federal prison today after serving seven years for allegedly taking bribes.

As I mentioned at the time of his conviction, the idea that Traficant was any more crooked than anyone else in Congress was ridiculous. His so-called crimes were victimless — they didn’t harm you or me at all. Meanwhile, from the House floor he called (loudly) for an end to the IRS (“Internal Rectal Service,” as he put it), attacked Janet Reno for her role in the Waco massacre, and attacked the Clintons for their misdeeds. Given all that, do you think that a few petty bribes are the real reason his fellow Democrats kicked him out of Congress and sent him to prison?

What I like best about Traficant is the disrespect that he exuded for the institution of which he was a member. His wild hair, thrift-store clothes, colorful speeches, and flamboyant manner all suggested that he didn’t care at all about the respect that the Establishment insists that we show for our supposedly sacred political institutions. Again, it’s no wonder they decided he had to be put away.

(Here Traficant explains how he helped reduce the amount the IRS collects from people it accuses of being tax cheats — and why they hate him.)

10:08 pm on September 2, 2009
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