Jim Traficant, Out of Jail, Running for Congress Again
According to the Youngstown Business Journal, Traficant declared to 35 members of the local Biz Society, “I’m going to run for Congress somewhere.” He said he has not decided which Ohio district he’ll run in, nor which political party he would affiliate with, but the former Democrat did say he has nominating petitions in three congressional districts.
Traficant had hinted several months ago that he was considering a run for Congress during an interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball. On his agenda if he were re-elected, he told Matthews: Addressing the trade deficit (“Our trade deficit is $700-plus billion dollars. Beam me up!”), creating jobs, repealing the 16th Amendment, which allows Congress to levy an income tax, and reforming the Internal Revenue Service (“I want to get the IRS and kick them in the crotch real good.”)
At the time, Traficant slammed the House leadership, including Nancy Pelosi, saying, “I’ve never seen such weak leadership in my life.” He added that Congress is “a big whore house” that “needs to start taking care of America.”
In addition to his run for Congress, Traficant said a libertarian group has called on him to run for president. “I told them I think you’re all getting high smoking dope, and you know what they told me?” he said. “To the contrary, you have a following.” He said he would speak at an event held by the group in February, “unless the government says I can’t travel.”
Traficant was expelled from Congress in 2002 after being convicted on charges of bribery, racketeering, and tax evasion. He was released from federal prison in April and has since insisted he was “not guilty in any way.” On Tuesday, he promised to get revenge on the witnesses against him and the government agents whom he said had coerced their testimony. “I want to get these suckers!” Traficant said. “You are being addressed by a very bitter guy.”
Jim Traficant: ‘I’m going to run’
Former Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) says he is “going to run” for Congress once again in 2010.
The colorful former congressman from Youngstown was released from federal prison in September after serving a 7-year stint on corruption charges.
Traficant made the announcement in front of roughly 30 members of the Youngstown Biz Society during a speech to the group in a local restaurant, according to the Business Journal Daily.
The former congressman did not say whether he would run for his old seat — currently occupied by Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, a former aide to Traficant — saying only, “I’m going to run for Congress somewhere.”
Traficant also said he has committed to speaking at a February event in Washington sponsored by the American Free Press, though he is not sure if the terms of his parole will allow him to travel.
The invitation, Traficant said, is part of an effort to encourage him to run for president.
“There’s a group out of Washington, and in several cities around the country, that want to bring back the old Reform Party, combine it with the tea party and bring the Libertarians in and everybody, and they want me to run as an independent for president,” Traficant said.
“I told them I think you’re all getting high smoking dope. And you know what they told me? They said, ‘to the contrary, you have a base following in all 48 contiguous states,’” he said. “So I’m going to address a group down there Feb. 13, unless the government says I can’t travel. And if they do that, we’ll hold it in Cleveland.”