What's The Dumbest Thing You Could Say To A Congresswoman Who Lost Her Legs In Battle? Um, THIS.

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An IRS contractor named Braulio Castillo hurt his foot playing football in military prep school. He never served in the actual military. Then one day, decades later, he used it to get preferred treatment in government contracts. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who lost both her legs and still could lose her arm from combat injuries, felt that this might just be a touch inappropriate. It gets amazing around 4:30.



This is especially egregious in light of the fact that it takes most vets an unnacceptably long time to get the help they need for basic services, let alone government contracts. My friend, who is a vet, informed me that many vets don't feel like they can apply at all because their injuries were so mild compared to injuries vets like Rep. Duckworth had. (Said vets have very valid injuries, like PTSD, shrapnel, and brain trauma, etc.) So the world needs to know about guys like this to prevent them from getting away with fraud. I'd love it if you shared and tweeted this. My friends who actually sacrificed in the line of duty would really appreciate it, too.

Transcript:
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Delores Duckworth: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. You know this hearing is very troubling to me because this case really shows how things can go wrong. I want to support our small business owners as much as possible. I want these set asides to be successful. But I am absolutely appalled by the advantages that have been taken of the system.

Mr. Flohr, I know you cannot discuss Mr. Castillo's case because you would need his permission to discuss his particular case. That's why you could not answer the question earlier. My understanding also is that the VA, VBA specifically, is bound by legislation that says a certain condition has a certain disability rating. For example, a below-the-knee amputation is 40%.
It just is. Correct?

Mr. Flohr: That is correct, ma'am.

Delores Duckworth: So it seems like there is an opportunity here for some legislative fixes to the system. Mr. Chodos, is it true that any rating, even if it's just 5%, would qualify someone for a service connected disability owns business?

Mr. Chodos: So long as they qualify under the VA's rules for service connected disability. That is adequate for the self-certification.

Delores Duckworth: Thank you. Mr. Castillo, how are you? Thank you, for being here today.

Mr. Castillo: I am not well, but you're welcome.

Delores Duckworth: All right. So your foot hurt? Your left foot?

Mr. Castillo: Yes, ma'am.

Delores Duckworth: It hurts. 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 heal right now. So I can understand pain and suffering and how service connection can actually cause long-term, unremitting, unyielding, unstoppable pain. So I'm sorry that twisting your ankle in high school has now come back to hurt you in such a painful way, if also opportune for you to gain this status for your business as you are trying to compete for contracts.

I also understand why something can take years to manifest themselves from when you hurt them. I have a dear, dear friend who sprayed Agent Orange out of his Huey in Vietnam who it took 40 years, 40 years for the leukemia to actually manifest itself, and he died 6 months later. So I can see how military service, while at the time you seem very healthy, could 40 years later result in devastating injury.

Can you tell me if you hurt your left foot again during your football career, subsequently to twisting it in high school?

Mr. Castillo: Ma'am, I don't understand the high school . . .

Mr. Flohr: [Generally] prep school.

Mr. Castillo: I apologize.

Mr. Flohr: Post high school.

Delores Duckworth: Post high school. OK. Prep school, before college. Prep school. Did you injure your left foot again after prep school?

Mr. Castillo: I'm not sure I understand the question, ma'am.

Delores Duckworth: You played football in college. Correct?

Mr. Castillo: Yes, ma'am.

Delores Duckworth: As a quarterback?

Mr. Castillo: Yes, ma'am.

Delores Duckworth: Did you hurt, did you injure that same foot again, subsequently in the year since you twisted it in prep school?

Mr. Castillo: Not to my recollection, ma'am.

Delores Duckworth: Not to your recollection. OK. Why didn't you, Mr. Castillo, tell the VA that your doctor's note to them was inaccurate when you knew that it was?

Mr. Castillo: I don't feel that it's inaccurate, ma'am.

Delores Duckworth: OK.

Mr. Castillo: Would you like me to address that?

Delores Duckworth: Yeah. Go ahead.

Mr. Castillo: Yes, ma'am. So one of my doctors submitted the letter. So, as part of the injury, you have to establish that it is chronic and reoccurring. So when I returned home to San Diego, my doctor from San Diego had also, had said that he had treated me for the foot injury that I suffered on active duty. When I moved to Las Vegas, a couple years later, that doctor submitted that he continued to treat me for that left foot, broken foot injury. Finally, when I moved to Virginia, I went to a doctor, and it continued to hurt. And he established that, so Dr. Sam Wilson, who ironically was also stationed at Monmouth . . .

Delores Duckworth: OK. I have to cut you off because I am running out of time.

Mr. Castillo: OK.

Delores Duckworth: I'm sorry.

Mr. Castillo: So I just want to, just, so let me finish. So in talking to Dr. Wilson, who himself is a disabled veteran and very familiar with Monmouth in that his son had went through it himself as well and played football. He actually was the one that talked to me about . . .

Delores Duckworth: OK.

Mr. Castillo:. . . "Hey, this may be something that is connected."
And I believe I told him . . .

Delores Duckworth: So let me, let me . . .

Mr. Castillo:. . . that I was first hurt . . .

Delores Duckworth: I have to cut you off. I have to cut you off.

Mr. Castillo: OK.

Delores Duckworth: This is not an argument. I'm talking.

Mr. Castillo: Yes, ma'am.

Delores Duckworth: I'm up here.

Mr. Castillo: Yes, ma'am.

Delores Duckworth: Let me ask you this. Do you feel that the 30%
rating that you have for the scars and the pain in your foot is accurate to the sacrifices that you've made for this nation?

Mr. Castillo: What . . .

Delores Duckworth: That the VA Decision is accurate in your case?

Mr. Castillo: Yes, ma'am, I do.

Delores Duckworth: You know, my right arm was essentially blown off and reattached. I spent a year in limb salvage with over a dozen surgeries over that time period. And in fact we thought we would lose my arm, and I'm still in danger of possibly losing my arm. I can't feel it. I can't feel my three fingers. My disability rating for that arm is 20%.

In your letter to a government official, I think it's the VBA, Attention
[Gina Mu], you said: "My family and I have made considerable sacrifices for our country. My service connected disability status should serve as a testimony to that end. I can't play with my kids because I can't walk without pain. I talk twice daily pain medication so I can work a normal day's worth. These are crosses, these are crosses that I bear due to my service to our great country, and I would do it again to protect this great country."

I'm so glad that you would be willing to play football in prep school again to protect this great country. Shame on you Mr. Castillo. Shame on you. You may not have broken any laws. We're not sure yet. You did misrepresent to the VBA, but you certainly broke the trust of this great nation. You broke the trust of veterans. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans right now are waiting an average of 237 days for an initial disability rating, and it is because people like you, who are gaming the system, are adding to that backlog so that young men and women, who are suffering from post-traumatic stress, who are missing limbs, cannot get the compensation and the help that they need. And I'm sure you played through the pain of that foot all through college.

Well let me tell you something. I recovered with a young man, a navy corps man, who while he was running into an ambush, where his Marines were hurt, had his leg knocked off with an RPG. He put a tourniquet on himself and crawled forward. He is who played through the pain, Mr. Castillo. You did not. You took advantage of a system. You describe the status, just today, that other companies were using these special statuses as competitive weapons against you. You, who never picked up a weapon in defense of this great nation, very cynically took advantage of the system. You broke the faith with this nation. You broke the faith with the men and women who lie in hospitals right now at Walter Reed, in Bethesda, at Brooke Army Medical Center in Longview. You broke the faith with them. And if this nation stops funding veteran's health care and stops and calls into question why veterans deserve their benefits, it is because cases like you have poisoned the public's opinion on these programs.

I hope that you think twice about the example that you're setting for your children. I hope that you think twice about what you are doing to this nation's veterans who are willing to die to protect this nation. Twisting your ankle in prep school is not defending or serving this nation, Mr. Castillo.

Mr. Chairman, I'm sorry. You have been very indulgent. I yield.

Mr. Issa: I thank the [young lady], and the time was well spent.

There may be small errors in this transcript.
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ORIGINAL: By Rep. Tammy Duckworth. Found on Gawker.

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