Dear Congressman Cravaack,
I’m a constituent in your district, and I recently stumbled upon your financial disclosure forms for the year of 2011.
I was perplexed by what I found. In 2011, you received $92,273 in union disability payments. As I understand it, you have sleep apnea. It’s a serious illness, and it’s certainly worthy of disability payments. I’m sorry you have it.
That’s not why I’m writing. Rather, I’m writing because I noticed that in the same year that you received disability payments from your union, you also received the standard salary that members of Congress receive—$174,000. (Unless you opted out, you also received that salary this year.) Furthermore, as the “assets and earned income” section of the financial disclosure forms make clear, you also have quite a few other assets. You have a couple houses, a cabin, not to mention bank accounts and other funds worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. (The checklist of that page looked a bit like a tic-tac-toe game gone wild.)
Truth be told, it seems disingenuous for you to claim disability at all. You’re working a full-time job (and have a great deal of other assets), and as a Congressman you’ve made it clear how much you dislike unnecessary, wasteful spending.
But you’re taking part in exactly such wasteful spending yourself; the only difference is that we’re talking about a private disability trust. Nonetheless, the principles are the same—other disabled Delta workers no doubt need that money far more than you do. After all, not everyone at Delta earned a pilot’s salary, can hold down a good-paying full-time job, or has your net worth.
So in the end, you’re taking a handout—and one that you don’t even need. For someone who argues that “Congress must learn to do what families in Minnesota do every day, live within our means” that’s quite a strange example for you to set.
I look forward to hearing from you.