Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Traficant beams back down

When I get out I will grab a sword like Maximus Meridius Demidius and as a Gladiator I will stab people in the crotch.

And out he is. Former US Rep. James Traficant was released from prison on Wednesday after serving seven years on bribery, racketeering and tax evasion convictions.

Will he return to Congress? I wouldn't bet against him if he decides to try. He initially won his old seat from an incumbent who outspent him seven times over, got re-elected seven times without ever dipping below 68% of the vote ... and pulled 15% of the vote running from prison as an independent in 2002 after his conviction and expulsion from Congress. The WaPo story linked above says that 1,000 supporters are expected to attend his "welcome home" dinner this Sunday.

Can't say as I'm a big fan -- his populist schtick includes a lot of protectionist and Know-Nothing elements, and he's a drug warrior and porkmonger -- but there's at least one bright spot in his past legislative career: He authored legislative provisions shifting the burden of proof in civil tax cases from the taxpayer to the IRS and requiring court orders for IRS seizures of homes. Those provisions became law as part of "IRS reform" in 1998.

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