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Dan Rostenkowski

Dan Rostenkowski mugshot

The arrest of Dan Rostenkowski:

He was a big power broker in Washington D.C., serving as a Congressman from Illinois from 1959 to 1995.

Dan Rostenkowski running for office posters

Because of his seniority, he rose to the rank of Chairman of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, which writes the tax laws in the lower house of Congress.

Rostenkowski, a Democrat, played a critical role in the 1981 tax reform push by Republican President Ronald Reagan.

Dan Rostenkowski with Ronald Reagan

However, it all ended in a rush starting in 1994, when Rostenkowski was indicted on corruption charges for his role in a House post office scandal.

Dan Rostenkowski

The investigation was led by a future U.S Attorney General, Eric Holder.

Rostenkowski was accused of paying salaries for no-show jobs and using Congressional funds to buy gifts for friends, like chairs and ash trays. He was also accused of trading in officially purchased stamps for cash at the House post office.

Dan Rostenkowski stamp

The stamps for cash allegations were dismissed but in 1996, Rostenkowski pleaded guilty to reduced charges of mail fraud and was sentenced to 17 months in prison and was fined.

He served 15 of the 17 months at the federal prison in Oxford, Wisconsin, spending the remaining two months at a halfway house in Chicago.

Rostenkowski's political career was ruined. He was also forced to step down from all of his House leadership positions and in late 1994, lost his re-election bid and retired from politics.

He died of lung cancer in August, 2010 in Genoa, Wisconsin.

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