By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — Prisoners are pocketing taxpayer-funded stimulus checks. A bill introduced this week in the House would end the practice once endorsed by the Internal Revenue Service.
The “No Taxpayer-Funded Checks for Prisoners Act,” bars federal prisoners currently incarcerated from receiving taxpayer money through what congressional Republicans have billed as “the Pelosi Payoff.”
The $1.9 trillion COVID relief package passed by Democrats and signed into law by a Democrat, is filled with all kinds of pork that has little or nothing to do with COVID relief. Cash for prisoners is just one of many liberal giveaways at taxpayers’ expense.
“Regardless of ideology or political party, we should all agree that sending taxpayer-funded checks to prisoners has nothing to do with coronavirus relief. Prisoners currently incarcerated are not concerned about covering rent or losing their job due to COVID,” U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville) said in a statement. Steil introduced the bill, co-sponsored by Wisconsin colleagues, U.S. Reps. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) and Mike Gallagher (R-Allouez), and Congressman Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican.
The “free” money to prisoners isn’t sitting well with law enforcers, either.
“Handing out taxpayer money to Wisconsin prisoners to spend at their will is completely irresponsible and asinine,” said Racine County Sheriff Chris Schmaling. “The responsible and right thing to do is to give the taxpayer money as restitution to to the victim(s) of their crimes or apply toward their court costs.”
That’s precisely what state Sen. Julian Bradley (R-Franklin) and state Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) want to do. The lawmakers are the co-authors of a bill that would divert stimulus checks to inmates to the victims of their crimes.
“President Biden’s irresponsible stimulus package sends stimulus checks to imprisoned murderers, rapists and child molesters,” Bradley told the Washington Post. “[We] are taking action to ensure the victims of these heinous crimes are paid restitution before criminals sitting in prison can profit.”
The prisoners have been profiting, and will continue to do so thanks to the IRS and a California court case. The IRS originally last year declared that prisoners could receive the $1,200 payments, in the first round of stimulus checks. According to the Washington Post, the federal government sent out some $100 million to those behind bars. In May, the tax collector changed its stance, and ordered prisons to seize the payments.
But inmates, with the help of enthusiastic attorneys, filed a class-action lawsuit in California. The federal judge there found in favor of the prisoners — twice. The judge ruled that correctional facilities had to provide inmates time and assistance to obtain payments, according to the Guardian.
An attorney representing the inmates claimed, apparently without any sense of irony, that the Trump administration had “already wasted a lot of taxpayer money chasing after checks that were previously properly issued…and filing brief after brief in court trying to stop our fellow Americans from getting stimulus money.”
“Our fellow Americans” include some of the most violent human beings on the planet.
“Dylann Roof murdered nine people. He’s on federal death row. He’ll be getting a $1,400 stimulus check as part of the Democrats’ ‘Covid relief’ bill,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) tweeted.
Steil and his colleagues want the payments to prisoners stopped.
“My bill … reverses Speaker Pelosi’s terrible policy and prevents federal prisoners from receiving a government check, ” Steil said