The 2,200 people incarcerated in U.S. prisons who received $250 checks from President Obama’s stimulus bill drew widespread condemnation from fiscal hawks, such as Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican.
“Taxpayers already believe the inmates are running the asylum in Washington,” Mr. Coburn said. “Now it appears they are being compensated for their efforts.”
But Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael J. Astrue said in a statement provided to The Washington Times that his agency’s hands are tied.
Inmates are entitled under the law because “they were not in prison during one of the following months: November 2008, December 2008 or January 2009. The law specified that any beneficiary eligible for a Social Security benefit during one of those months was eligible for the recovery payment.”
A total of 3,900 of the $250 checks were sent to incarcerated persons, and most of them (2,200) were legitimate, he said. The remaining 1,700 checks that went to people who were in jail during the specified time in violation of the law will need to be recalled.
Campaign finance regulators have cleared the way for a conservative fundraising group to contact people who donated to Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter while he was a member of the Republican Party to notify them of the offer he made to refund the money after becoming a Democrat.
The request to do so comes from the Club for Growth, which Patrick J. Toomey presided over until he left to run against Mr. Specter as a Republican for the Senate.
In his statement announcing his decision to leave the Republican Party last April, Mr. Specter said, “Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.” By sending the mailers reminding Mr. Specter’s previous donors of this offer, the Club can question his integrity as a party-switcher and if the donors do want their money back, drain some of his campaign funds.
FEC commissioners, by a vote of 4-2, issued an opinion Thursday to green-light the effort.
“Sen. Specter continues to face doubts about his loyalties, and I expect many of his donors will want their money back,” said Club Executive Director David Keating. “We hope to make it a little easier by informing them of the senator’s policy and providing an preprinted letter and envelope to request a refund.”
Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@ washingtontimes.com
Amanda Carpenter writes the daily “Hot Button” column for The Washington Times. She was formerly a national political reporter for Townhall.com, the leading online publication for news, opinion and talk. Prior to that, she was a reporter for Human Events. Ms. Carpenter has made numerous media appearances that include segments on the Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, BBC and other ...
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