News / USA

Former US Congressman Dan Rostenkowski Dies

Kane Farabaugh

Former U.S. Congressman Dan Rostenkowski died at his home in Wisconsin on Wednesday.  He was 82.  Rostenkowski, from Chicago, chaired the House Ways and Means Committee from 1981 to 1994, making him one of the most influential lawmakers of his era.  That influence faded under the weight of a post office scandal that sent Rostenkowski to federal prison on mail fraud charges.  he was a popular figure in Illinois.

What Northwestern University political science professor Kenneth Janda remembers most about Dan Rostenkowski was his personality.

"Typical Chicago - he was gruff," said Kenneth Janda. "This is not someone you would pick to write an article on the art museum."

Janda says that made him an endearing figure to the working class people Rostenkowski served in the Chicago area for 36 years.

Rostenkowski was as a congressman from Chicago from 1959 to 1995.

In 1981, he was elevated to chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax legislation.  With the position came power, and the ability to influence funding for massive projects in his home state of Illinois.

But the beginning of the end of Rostenkowski's power and influence began in 1992, when a grand jury in Washington D.C. charged him with 17 counts of misusing government funds.

He pled guilty to two counts of mail fraud and served 17 months in federal prison.

He lost his bid for re-election in 1994 and never returned to politics.

In an interview in 1998, Rostenkowski admitted his obituary would read 'Dan Rostenkowski, felon', but Janda says that is not how most people in Chicago will remember him.

"My guess is that most people will have forgotten, or maybe will have - if they remembered - excused his charges of mail fraud and his imprisonment, and they will remember instead a man who, as head of the Ways and Means committee for the United States Congress, was able to deliver some bacon to the city of Chicago," he said.

President Bill Clinton pardoned Rostenkowski in 2000.

In a twist of irony, Rostenkowski's seat in Congress eventually went to Rod Blagojevich in 1996.  Blagojevich went on to win an election as governor of Illinois in 2002 and 2006, only to be removed from office in 2009 amid allegations of corruption.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid