WASHINGTON – It might be stolen valor, but … well, you decide.
Watch this exchange, between Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., and IRS contractor Braulio Castillo, who made a disability claim last year for an ankle injury he suffered at a military prep school in 1984, thus entitling him to a lucrative contract with the IRS worth as much as a half-billion dollars.
Duckworth, who lost both legs in 2004 in Iraq, grills Castillo on his injury.
"I'm sorry that twisting your ankle in high school has now come back to hurt you in such a painful way,” she says. “Yeah, my feet hurt, too. In fact, the balls of my feet burn continuously and I feel like there is a nail being hammered into my right heel right now."
The Federal Times reported Tuesday that Castillo, owner of a computer company, injured his ankle in fall 1984 during his year at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School, but would play quarterback and linebacker the next year at the University of San Diego, citing a 157-page report Tuesday by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which held a hearing on the contract Wednesday.
The report said high school football players recruited to play at West Point sometimes enroll in the prep school for a fifth year of high school to “redshirt” and prepare to play college football. Castillo’s injury happened during an orienteering exercise, and his nine months at the prep school represent the entirety of his military career, according to the report.
Duckworth, as you can see, was angry but measured.
“Twisting your ankle in prep school is not defending or serving this nation, Mr. Castillo.”
No word on whether legislation is forthcoming – or possible – to keep this sort of thing from happening again.