by Michael Dorstewitz
A Congressional witness claiming to be a disabled veteran for a sprained ankle he allegedly sustained almost 30 years ago, walked into a human buzz saw when confronted with Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who lost both her legs and severely injured her right arm during her service in the Iraq War.
Braulio Castillo appeared before the House Committee for Oversight and Government Reform Wednesday. He’s alleged to have “defrauded the government for millions of dollars in aid and federal incentives by claiming to be an injured veteran,” according to Business Insider.
Castollo is receiving 30 percent disability for a sprained ankle, which occurred in 1984, from the Veterans Affairs Administration without having served a single day on active duty. Given his lack of service and the Illinois Democratic lawmaker’s honorable service, she was the last person he wanted to lock horns with.
Despite sitting on opposite sides of the isle, committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was obviously enjoying the exchange — he allowed her to go far beyond her allotted time with nary a discouraging word.
“Do you feel that the 30 percent rating that you have received for your scars and the pain in your foot is accurate to the sacrifices you have made for this nation,” Duckworth sweetly asked.
“Yes ma’am, I do,” Castillo replied.
Oh, oh. Castillo never saw what was coming until it was too late.
“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. 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 percent.”
In contrast, Business Insider’s Brian Jones noted:
Castillo attended a prep school affiliated with West Point Military academy for one year in 1984. After he sprained his ankle in training, he dropped out. He later enjoyed a career as a college quarterback at San Diego State University.
He went 27 years without claiming any benefits affiliated with his military service, until his company acquired a company called Signet Computers and he sought a government contract.
Castillo wrote the following email to a VA examiner knowing that having a service connected disability would have helped him to secure the contract:
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 take twice daily pain medication so I can work a normal day’s worth. These are crosses that I bear due to my service to our great country. I would do it again to protect this great country. Part of my reasoning for my line of work is that I can continue to support the US federal government. My ask is that you certify me, my company, so that my sacrifices and investments are for not [sic] and that I can provide for my family.
After Castillo confirmed that his foot continued to hurt, Duckworth told him about her own feet.
“My feet hurt too,” she began. “In fact, the balls of my feet burn continuously and I feel like there’s a nail being hammered into my right heel right now. So … I’m sorry twisting your ankle in high school has come back to hurt you in such a painful way.”
Watch the full exchange below.