Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Congressman Taxpayer Zero from IL-19

US House candidate Tim Bagwell, PhD, sent a letter of concern to Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19) regarding $3,335,578 in federal funds he steered to the Save-A-Life Foundation (SALF), a shady nonprofit, according to a Democratic Party press release. The Chicago area 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization had a charter stating that it would provide first aid training to schoolchildren. Records from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show continued funding through at least mid-year 2007.

Since 2006, SALF has been the subject of numerous media exposes around the country, one of which reported a series of misleading claims and deceptive credentials that raise doubts about Save-A-Life's integrity, funding and training.

In his letter and at a press conference, Dr. Bagwell asked Rep. Shimkus two questions:

  1. Where did the money go?
  2. Why haven’t you investigated the allegations?
Through his staffer, the response appears below:
Congressman Shimkus has received your letter of inquiry. He supports the ongoing Illinois Attorney General’s investigation and believes that any criminal acts should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
He deflected responsibility without providing answers to either of the questions. Illinois Attorney General Madigan’s office protects IL tax dollars not the $3+ million in federal funds. With that, Rep. Shimkus has washed his hands of the issue and any federal oversight to adequately account for the taxpayer millions that SALF administrators spent.

Additionally, Rep. Shimkus has admitted that he was not made aware of any negative press surrounding the charity despite the score of media exposes about SALF. The elected representative for Central and So. IL who is supposed to act as a watchdog protecting their hard-earned money admits that for years he has been totally clueless to the myriad of research available.

Given Congressman Shimkus’ lack of knowledge and interest, Dr. Bagwell used his October 04, 2010, press release to inform constituents that he will send letters requesting an investigation to the U. S. Department of Justice and to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC. He is doing John Shimkus' job.

Dr. Bagwell will also send a copy of his request to The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste. It is the taxpayer watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., that named Rep. Shimkus a Taxpayer Hero in its 2009 Congressional Ratings. Obviously, their records are long overdue for an update.

The people of Central and So. IL should create a special award for Congressman Zero. He deserves the Taxpayer Zero Award. It is the perfect Shamekus Medal for someone who could not even qualify for his unremarkable tenure as assistant supply officer after completing his prestigious West Point education and advanced Ranger training.

Wasting taxpayer money is obviously a lifestyle choice for John Shimkus. It is an especially low blow to the women in IL-19 since he consistently voted against women's pay equity.

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