Wednesday Representative Tammy Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq War and double amputee, tore into a federal contractor with a questionable veterans disability claim.
Her inquiry came during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, in which she questioned Braulio Castillo who was seeking disabled veteran status for an ankle injury suffered at prep school.
Reading from Castillo's letter written to Veteran's Affairs, Illinois Representative Duckworth quoted Castillo's claim letter which asserted that his pain was constant and crippling.
She followed by simply asking, “Does your foot hurt?”
Castillo confirmed it did to which Duckworth replied that her “feet hurt too.”
With a controlled but visible anger, Duckworth explained the depth of her virtually constant pain, describing a daily sensation she likened to a nail being hammered into her heel.
The chronic pain came after, as she explained in detail, the loss of her two legs and almost the loss of one of her arms, which she suffered on a battlefield from combat.
Citing the Castillo's claim that stated he had a pain rating of 30 percent, she said, even given her condition was rated at 20 percent.
Castillo could not recall the specific incident in which he injured his ankle in school but said he suffered daily pain that he would gladly suffer again “to protect this great country.”
Clearly not convinced Tammy Duckworth bitterly remarked:
“I'm so glad that you would be willing to play football at prep school again to protect this great country. Shame on you, Mr. Castillo. Shame on you. You may not have broken any laws … but you have broken the trust of this great nation.”
Castillo is CEO of Strong Castle Inc., and his claim is based on a desire to get tax exemptions granted to veteran-owned businesses. CBS News reports that Castillo currently receives a monthly check from the VA.
Don't just read about it, though. The slam Duckworth delivers is fully worth the eight minutes as the representative levels Castillo with a brutal barrage. Skip to 4:30 though, if you want to see the best of it.
What do you think, is Representative Duckworth being fair in charging Mr. Castillo with taking advantage of the VA? Share your thoughts!
[Image via DOD / Wikimedia Commons]