Published September 6, 2009
The day former Congressman-turned-federal prisoner James A. Traficant Jr. walked out a free man last week, this writer received a call about one of the issues he supposedly intends to get involved in: Help the Delphi salaried retirees secure the same deal that the hourly retirees got recently.
The caller claimed that Traficant conveyed his willingness to work with the retirees while still in prison. Now that he's out — he left the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minn., at 10:53 a.m. Wednesday — it will be interesting to see whether this report is an exaggeration designed to boost the ex-con's importance, or whether he really believes that he still has clout with those who matter.
During his tenure in Congress, Traficant often intervened in labor disputes. His involvement was accepted because he had the power of a federal office behind him. But now, having no public position or job and having been away for seven years and a month, he brings nothing to the table — other than his belief that he is still matters.
Will the Delphi retirees accept his offer to help if he makes it?