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Tammy Duckworth lost both legs while serving in Iraq in 2004. She now represents Illinois in Congress.

Dubious disability earns stinging rebuke from congresswoman

Braulio Castillo probably didn’t think it would be a problem to represent himself as a service-disabled veteran when his technology company sought certification from the Veterans Administration for set-aside contracts.

But the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform began looking into whether Castillo, who twisted his foot nearly 30 years ago at the U.S. Military Preparatory School, won contracts with the IRS through the help of Greg Roseman, a friend and top contracting official. To Castillo’s great misfortune, Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth is on the committee. She had some tough words for him at a hearing last week.

Duckworth, you might recall, lost both her legs and the use of her right arm while serving as a helicopter pilot in Iraq in 2004. She’s a Purple Heart recipient.

“Mr. Castillo, how are you today? Thank you for being here,” Duckworth began.

“I am not well, but you’re welcome,” he replied.

Duckworth proceeded to empathize with Castillo, noting her own experience with “unremitting, unyielding, unstoppable pain” but then launched into an unremitting, unyielding and spot-on rebuke of the business owner’s use of a program intended to help military veterans.

“I’m so glad that you would be willing to play football in prep school again to protect this great country,” she said. “Shame on you, Mr. Castillo. Shame on you. You may not have broken any laws … but you certainly broke the trust of this great nation. You broke the trust of veterans.”

Duckworth concluded with an apology to the committee chairman for exceeding the time limit.

“I thank the young lady – and the time was well spent,” replied Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

No doubt.

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