|Name||James A. "Jim" Traficant, Jr.|
Poland, Ohio , United States
|| May 08, 1941
|Died||September 27, 2014
Dec 26, 2018 02:26pm
Caucasian - Married - Censured - Convicted - Expelled - Imprisoned - Removed From Office - Reprimanded - Catholic - Christian - Straight -
|Info||Jim Traficant, the oft foul-mouthed, eccentric, maverick Congressman from Ohio's 17th Congressional District, was known as a populist that appealed to the working class (i.e. 'little guy') of the Youngstown, Ohio area. |
He received his B.S. in Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1963, where he also played quarterback for the Panther football team (and later tried out for the Oakland Raiders). He earned 2 M.S. degrees from Youngstown State (Administration in 1973 and Counseling in 1976).
From 1971 to 1981, Traficant served as the director of the Mahoning County (Ohio) Drug Program. As director he established a Parent Awareness Group in Ohio to educate families about substance abuse. In 1980, Mr. Traficant was elected Sheriff of Mahoning County. Traficant was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1983. He served eight and three-quarters consecutive terms until he was expelled from Congress on July 24, 2002 after being found guilty in Federal court on a 10-count indictment that included bribery, receiving kickbacks, racketeering, tax evasion, and using his political office for personal gain. He was famous for his one-minute speeches that almost always contained the famous Star Trek phrase, "Beam me up", denim bell-bottom suits, and weed whacker-styled hair.
As Sheriff, Traficant allegedly accepted bribes from the mafia and was tried in Federal court in 1983 under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act. He became the first American citizen to defeat the Department of Justice, pro se, in a RICO case, claiming that, as Sheriff, he was conducting a one man sting operation to bring organized crime under control in his county. He did not fare so well in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) case against him. He was found financially responsible for the money he accepted, and it was viewed as income for which he did not pay taxes. The IRS set up a plan to garnish his Congressional wages to account for the taxes and penalties he owed them.
As a Congressman, Traficant was tried and convicted in Federal court during April 2002 on a 10-count indictment. Traficant called on the charges as a conspiracy relating them all the way up the chain to former Justice Department Head Janet Reno (who initiated the charges), as he was critical of her lack of investigation and prosecution in the Chinese monetary contributions to the Democratic National Committee and publicly called her a traitor to the United States. The House, with the recommendation of the House Ethics Committee expelled Congressman Traficant by a 420-1 vote on July 24, 2002 (Rep. Gary Condit was the only Representative in the House to vote against H.R. 495). Since Rep. Traficant had been found guilty in a court of law on felony charges, he was not allowed to vote on any House matters. On July 30, 2002, Traficant was sentenced in Federal court to 8 years in the Federal Correctional Institute at Allenwood in White Deer, PA. He was relocated in 2004 to the Federal Correction Institute in Ray Brook, NY. During December 2004, Jim Traficant was admitted to the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, MN for an undisclosed reason. He was released from prison on September 2, 2009.