If you want to slap Congress in the face and show your
disdain for "politics as usual," you'll definitely want to
help get Jim Traficant back in Congress.
By Michael Collins Piper
Exclusive To American Free Press
Down-but definitely not out-Jim Traficant is on the ballot for the November election as an independent, challenging the candidates of both major parties.
Polls in his home base in eastern Ohio show that Traficant leads his closest competitor by a two-to-one margin.
Traficant has a special message to AFP readers: "The readers of American Free Press should know about those polls that show that I can get elected and that I have a lot of support out here. I think I can be-and I want to be-the first American ever elected to Congress from a prison cell."
The ex-congressman believes that his re-election-even while sitting in a federal prison-would send a message loud and strong that citizens are fed up with government misdeeds and all-around disdain for the hard-working productive people of middle America.
"People fear the government and no one should fear the government," said Traficant. "And when you start fearing your government, you end up hating your government. America is building a hell of a problem and it has got to be changed."
A lot of people have asked how they can help Traficant. Traficant tells AFP's readers bluntly and directly: "I need some campaign money. I'm ahead 2-1 in the polls, but the local press and the national media are desperate. They 're just beating me down."
The media is repeatedly suggesting that if Traficant is sent to a federal prison outside his home state he will not be eligible to seek office from Ohio. This is not necessarily the case.
Traficant told AFP that "I think they are working to try to keep me off the ballot, but I don't think they can. The Constitution says that you must be an inhabitant of the state. The town that I returned to, when I left Washington, is in Ohio. That's where I'm an inhabitant."
Traficant's attorneys intend to raise all legal questions pertinent to the matter if Traficant is permanently placed in a prison outside Ohio.
In the meantime, however, even Traficant's Republican opponent, Anne Benjamin admitted to The Cleve land Plain Dealer that she understands from Ohio state election officials that Traficant is eligible to run from an out-of-state prison.
About the role the FBI and the Justice Department played in his prosecution, Traficant commented succinctly: "They pressured people to lie like you can't believe. There's no physical evidence. Not one bit of corroboration. Not one fingerprint. Nothing."
On April 15, May 6, Aug. 5, and Aug. 12 AFP reported specifics regarding Traficant's case, demonstrating how the federal assault upon the congressman was a classic frame-up of the worst sort.
Traficant summarized the fashion in which Judge Lesley Wells handled his case.
I wasn't allowed to bring any evidence. The judge didn't allow me to bring nine witnesses before the jury. But she made them testify before her, with the jury out of the room.
The judge didn't allow me to introduce 10 tapes that provided evidence of my innocence. She kept those tapes away from the jury. She tied my hands behind my back. But to tell you the truth, I damned near beat her and the prosecutors without that evidence.
They had to get rid of me. [One witness] Richard Detore described how the federal prosecutors brought up Janet Reno to him [and pointed out how Traficant had criticized her].
I'm the only one that went after Janet Reno. The Republicans wanted free trade with China and the Democrats didn't want Clinton to get hurt. So I was the only one going after Reno and she went after me like a ton of bricks.
Traficant elaborated on some of the controversial stands that he took while serving in Congress:
Why are they so afraid to death of me? I'm the only one that's talking about trade, talking about giving away the country, about China and about China slipping in money to the U.S. government and the politicians are getting away with it. Our borders are wide open and then they talk about terrorists and narcotics coming across.
"My issues," Traficant said, "are not popular with the government but they are with the people."
Traficant is particularly proud of his work in reforming the tax laws, especially those governing the IRS and its relationship with the taxpayers:
I'm the one that passed the law that says a citizen can sue the IRS for $1 million if they abuse you. That's one of my laws. Secondly, I changed the law regarding burden of proof in a civil tax case. You used to be considered guilty and had to prove yourself innocent. The third thing is that under one of my IRS reforms, the IRS can no longer seize your property without a court order.
However, Traficant has a lot more in mind: "When I get back into Congress-and I can do it with the help of people around the country-I'm going to introduce a bill to eliminate the IRS and create a 15 percent national retail sales tax, exempt everybody at the poverty level. Everybody else would pay the sales tax.
"The fact is," says Traficant, "There's no freedom in America. That's a joke. You are born into a limited partnership with the Internal Revenue Service. I want that to be quoted."
In reference to his sales tax proposal, he points out:
Harvard has done a study saying that, with a sales tax, prices won't even increase because the tax code is what's putting all the costs on American products in the first place.
Ninety percent of all retail sales taxes are collected by nine percent of retailers. My proposal would even exempt yard sales up to $10,000 for individuals.
I want to put a five percent tariff on the imported goods from any country that has a lower standard of living than the United States or any country which keeps our products out. China, for example, has a 17 cents an hour labor wage. Japan doesn't let our products in. I want that 5 percent and then we can take away FICA.
This way American companies will move back to America. You can't blame American companies for leaving with the oppressive tax code that we've got.
Traficant also intends to continue working for reform of the federal law enforcement system that has put him in federal prison and which has been responsible for travesties such as Waco and Ruby Ridge:
As for the FBI and the Justice Department, I'm going to put in legislation to have an independent agency, appointed by the president for 10 years and approved by the Senate. Their job will be nothing but to investigate the serious cases like Waco, Ruby Ridge-cases like that. Right now the Justice Department has its own Office of Professional Responsibility, but that's nothing more than "damage control" for the Justice Department.
Traficant has an explanation for the unusually close relationship between federal judges and the FBI and the Justice Department:
"Remember, these judges are afraid of the FBI and the IRS. The reason is this: Although Congress can impeach federal judges, it is not Congress that investigates these federal judges before they are appointed. It is the FBI and the IRS that does it. And it's the FBI and the IRS that brings all of these cases to the federal judges and they do what the FBI and the IRS want them to do. So they're all against me."
As for Judge Wells, "The judge's husband is an attorney for Squires, Sanders & Dempsey in Cleveland. That firm handled business for the firm of John Cafaro who was a key government witness against me. Judge Wells shouldn't have even been the judge in my case. That's a Hell of a story in itself."
Although the judge refused to allow Traficant to remain free on bail and refused to grant him a new trial, Traficant is appealing his conviction before the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Whatever the result of the appeal, Traficant remains committed to winning re-election. With the support of the people who believe in him-and there are many-he may do it.