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Video of Duckworth shaming IRS contractor goes viral

By Associated Press & Star-Advertiser

LAST UPDATED: 04:57 p.m. HST, Jun 28, 2013

<br /><br />Associated Press<br />Of the 16 Iraq and Af­ghani­stan veterans next year in Congress, Rep. Tammy Duckworth carries the highest profile.<br />

A video showing U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran and who lost both her legs in combat, is going viral. The video shows Duckworth at a Congressional hearing, shaming an Internal Revenue Service contractor who claimed a questionable veterans disability benefit to help his business.

Duckworth, who attended the University of Hawaii and graduated from McKinley High School, mocked Strong Castle CEO, Braulio Castillo’s application for a disabled veteran's benefit, which gave Strong Castle a competitive advantage in bidding for government contracts.

Duckworth noted that Castillo sustained a foot injury not in combat but while playing football at a military prep school. Castillo went on to play college football at the University of San Diego, and more than 20 years later, applied for veterans disability payments.

“My feet hurt too,” Duckworth said sarcastically. “In fact, the balls of my feet hurt continuously. So I can understand and ... I’m so sorry that twisting your ankle in high school has now come to hurt you in such a painful way.”

Duckworth asked Castillo how severe his injury was rated by the VA. After Castillo said it was rated at 30 percent, Duckworth pointed to her own arm.

“My right arm was essentially blown off and reattached ... and I’m still in danger of losing my arm. I can’t feel my arm. My disability rating for that arm is 20 percent,” Duckworth said.

“I don’t set the ratings,” Castillo replied.

The video was posted by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darryl Issa, R-Calif., after Wednesday’s hearing. The exchange was featured in a CBS News story, and started to go viral Thursday after it was posted on several websites.

The House committee is investigating government contracts secured by Strong Castle Inc., and whether a friendship between IRS official Gregory Roseman and Castillo, was a factor in the company’s ability to win such large contracts with the IRS. The computer services company has as much as $500 million in contracts with the tax agency.

Roseman said he was advised by his lawyer to invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination and refused to testify.

Beth Tucker, the agency’s deputy commissioner for operations support, told lawmakers that the IRS was working to sever its ties with Strong Castle and recently referred its contracts with the company to the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration for further investigation.

Tucker said she also was troubled by other aspects of Strong Castle’s work with the IRS, including allegations that Castillo took advantage of programs in the Small Business Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs to move to the front of the line for IRS contracts.

“Let me be clear, the information that we’ve seen about the personal relationship with Mr. Roseman and Mr. Castillo is inappropriate,” Tucker said. “Mr. Roseman should have recused himself immediately.”

Strong Castle, which was founded just two years ago, scooped up more than a dozen contracts with the IRS in 2012 for computer services potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Castillo testified Wednesday that his company’s dealings with the IRS were lawful and contributed “to the IRS’ mission.” 

He said he didn’t know why Roseman invoked his 5th amendment right and that he wished Roseman had testified. Castillo acknowledged that he and Roseman were friends, had regularly exchanged text messages over about 10 years and attended a Washington Nationals baseball game together, but said nothing was untoward.

“We are a responsible small business,” Castillo said. “Strong Castle remains committed to providing results.”

He added, “We have competed fairly for every IRS contract we’ve received.”

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simple wrote:
Good one Congresswoman Duckworth
on June 28,2013 | 12:20PM
simple wrote:
How the hell does "a foot injury while playing football at a military prep school" qualify someone for veteran status. Isn't that illegal?
on June 28,2013 | 12:23PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
I guess that's the point she was trying to make.
on June 28,2013 | 01:14PM
kainalu wrote:
And boy - did she make it! Heck, she had me cowering behind my keyboard.
on June 28,2013 | 04:51PM
st1d wrote:
from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee report:

Braulio Castillo would not have been considered a veteran had he completed his year at USMAPS without injury. Normally, a cadet is not considered a veteran until he or she graduates from West Point, enters active duty, and subsequently leaves active duty. Time spent at USMAPS and West Point is considered training, not active duty. However, if a person is injured at either school, he or she becomes a veteran due to the service-connected disability. This policy is codified with respect to service at the academies, and is extended in the Code of Federal Regulations to include prep schools.

one would expect that only injuries sustained while in combat or military training would qualify. i remember seeing loopholes so large that talented lariat cowboys rode their horses through them.

on June 28,2013 | 06:16PM
allie wrote:
you go girl!
on June 28,2013 | 03:52PM
iwanaknow wrote:
We haven' seen the end of this story.............................will the truth come out?
on June 28,2013 | 12:46PM
PokeStop wrote:
Rep. Duckworth is one tough veteran. Shame on Castillo for scamming the U.S.
on June 28,2013 | 12:58PM
loquaciousone wrote:
I guess Castillo couldn't DUCK this one.
on June 28,2013 | 01:08PM
lowtone123 wrote:
He also applied for disability payments. Shame on this guy for receiving funds that may have served someone deserving.
on June 28,2013 | 01:12PM
peanutgallery wrote:
Castillio is one of many dirtbags who rip-off taxpayers every day. He should be forced to repay and monetary benefit he received.
on June 28,2013 | 01:15PM
stingray65 wrote:
I totally agreed with you!! Now someone just opened a can of worm?
on June 28,2013 | 03:30PM
allie wrote:
on June 28,2013 | 03:53PM
Skyler wrote:
Unreal. Called out & exposed - and still has no shame.
on June 28,2013 | 01:18PM
AhiPoke wrote:
If there are any people still unsure of how bad our government is broken this story is a perfect illustration of it. Government workers have become the new elite taking pay and benefits most of us can only dream of. Yes, they're not billionaires but remember they take no risk, they can never be fired and they have absolutely no accountibility.
on June 28,2013 | 01:23PM
krusha wrote:
These are independent government contractors. The reason why the government hired these contractors is because they didn't want to do the work internally and wanted to save money on these projects. Contractors are responsible for their own workers. The government is responsible for awarding these contracts and making sure they follow through on whatever they are contracted for. Usually the government gets sued after they cancel these contracts by those same contractors, so either way it's a sticky situation.
on June 28,2013 | 01:53PM
kailua000 wrote:
not government workers (except maybe the IRS). government contractors. my whole family is government in the law enforcement side and not one has ever received bonuses. they are all angry about the IRS bonuses, angry about all the conferences and waste of money. you are right many cant be fired, but many can be. Government contractors make ridiculous money. does our government still pay $100k for a screwdriver? i bet they do. Why when the F22 or F35 are found to be defective does our government pick up the cost for repairs? why is there no lemon law and let the manufacturer (boeing/lockheed etc) pick up the cost. they are contractors and make billions - yes billions, and we pay for them to repair their mistakes. ridiculous
on June 29,2013 | 01:07AM
eastside808 wrote:
Watch the video and judge for yourself. Go to youtube and type in duckworh and your should be able to find the video. Castillo got handed his head and another part of his body handed to him in the hearing. Wow, a McKinley grad...what a TIger!!
on June 28,2013 | 01:33PM
96706 wrote:
whoooooweee!! She told him off!
on June 28,2013 | 01:53PM
st1d wrote:
the thing about the people that claim injuries and collect payments is that they can not be shamed. there are many government employees that take years off with claims of job stress or workplace injuries that can not be confirmed.
on June 28,2013 | 02:04PM
copperwire9 wrote:
Pay attention. The creep is not a government employee.
on June 29,2013 | 12:59AM
Anonymous wrote:
About half of all military disability pay is for sham reasons. Things like people twisting their ankles while playing racketball are commonplace. Ask anyone who's retired military and willing to share you the truth.
on June 28,2013 | 02:11PM
loquaciousone wrote:
I once put in for cracked fingernail and they disallowed it so when a grenade went off too close to my ears I wouldn't hear of filing for that.
on June 28,2013 | 02:45PM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
on June 28,2013 | 03:20PM
poidragon wrote:
How do you apply for military disability payments, 20 years after the incident? Isn't there a time limit or statute of limitations for applying for such?
on June 28,2013 | 03:12PM
kuroiwaj wrote:
Outstanding Tammy or Representative Duckworth. My ischemic heart disease from Agent Orange after a year in the A Shau was just rated 10%. Figure that one out. Thanks for bringing this IRS issue to the forefront. It is non-partisan issue.
on June 28,2013 | 03:22PM
MakaniKai wrote:
YOU GO SISTAH GIRL! Brought tears to my eyes......you gotta watch the video!
on June 28,2013 | 03:27PM
allie wrote:
me too
on June 28,2013 | 03:53PM
stingray65 wrote:
How did he get 30% disability? Who rated him for that amount?
on June 28,2013 | 03:27PM
Maunawiliboy wrote:
Low class slimeball meets veteran with more balls than him. He should be ashamed to call himself an American.
on June 28,2013 | 03:35PM
808comp wrote:
Lucky Gabbard wasn't on this committee, otherwise this guy would have gotten it from her too.
on June 28,2013 | 03:45PM
wahine wrote:
If only Obama had half the balls and integrity as this woman...
on June 28,2013 | 03:55PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Roseman should be terminated immediately. I can't believe an IRS administrator can refuse to testify to congress about his job duties ... this is outrageous!
on June 28,2013 | 06:05PM
Surfer_Dude wrote:
God bless you, Tammy.
on June 28,2013 | 07:45PM
ftaele83 wrote:
Relax Duckworth! Castillo's only exercising his rights to take advantage of benefits available to those who qualify. It's not like he did anything unlawful to qualify. You're barking up the wrong tree, Duckworth...
on June 28,2013 | 08:55PM
kailua000 wrote:
cancel the contracts - all of them. and dont pay them out because of some clause, these contracts were gotten under false pretenses. "responsible small business?" what small business has $500M in contracts? I want that small business.
on June 29,2013 | 01:02AM
kailua000 wrote:
i guess if he went to one of the pay for prep school or if he went to west point, air force, coast guard or navy prep school as to whether it counts as service. either way, if he played college football, his 'pain' is because he didnt stay off his foot. what a lose
on June 29,2013 | 01:15AM
Alohapatty wrote:
Clarification: two parts to this: you have to have military service, and you have to have a service-connected disability. I'm just saying that he is claiming that he had active duty Army service. I am obviously a believer that he does not meet the service-connected disability aspect.
on June 29,2013 | 09:02AM
Alohapatty wrote:
According to his bio on his website, after prep school/college, he was in the Army. Active duty. Prep school didn't give him the required service for a VA pension, the Army did.
on June 29,2013 | 08:59AM
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