October 4, 2009

For anyone who hasn't seen this, I thought it was worth sharing. From Alan Grayson's You Tube page "Rep. Alan Grayson asking Federal Reserve General Counsel Scott Alvarez about the Fed's independence" on Sept. 25, 2009.

Also there is a really wonderful diary up at Daily KOS by davidkc with more on Grayson's background. I highly recommend reading it-- Alan Grayson Shows Dems How to Play Hardball.

The more I read about this man, the more I like him. As the KOS diary points to, the St. Petersburg Times published a lengthy profile of Congressman Grayson and here are a few portions that I thought were worth sharing.

But a leading opponent has not yet emerged, and Grayson, the 12th-wealthiest member of Congress, has resources to defend himself. He spent $2 million of his own money on the 2008 campaign. (The "die quickly" speech has triggered $150,000 in contributions, his office says.) And his district has shifted from slightly Republican to slightly Democratic.

"It's no coincidence the National Republican Congressional Committee has named me as the No. 1 target next year," Grayson said. "We're working hard, getting things done."

Swagger courses through Grayson's every word, delivered in the accent of his Bronx upbringing and with the exacting nature of a lawyer who first made his name taking on — and taking down — contractors and war profiteers in Iraq.

"I don't need the job for income or satisfaction," said Grayson, sitting on a bench outside the House chamber in between votes. "The truth is, it's really a hardship. I took an enormous pay cut to take the job. Every week, I leave five young children and my wife to come up here.

"I don't owe anything to anyone here. I don't owe anything to lobbyists. I don't owe anything to leadership. The only thing I owe to anybody is the well-being of 800,000 people who depend on me."


That self-assurance is best captured on the Financial Services Committee, where he has aggressively interrogated Federal Reserve officials and financial executives on federal bailouts and the economic morass.

In a memorable exchange, Grayson laughs at Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke as he tries to explain why the government would loan $500 billion to foreign banks.

The performances have made Grayson an Internet sensation, a champion for a public buried under credit card debt and foreclosures. "Alan Grayson. Wow," wrote a commenter on a YouTube video of him questioning Bernanke. "The only thing that would make this video better is if Grayson body-slammed Bernanke through a hardwood table."


Grayson's life story has the makings of a Horatio Alger novel. He grew up in a cramped Bronx tenement, the asthma-inflicted son of public school educators. Sickness and death are common themes.

As a boy, a bully threw him under a moving bus but he pulled himself free just in time. In Sri Lanka in 1984, he sat under a 2,200-year-old tree, a sacred Buddhist site, where guerrillas later slaughtered 200 people. He used to wake up in the middle of the night covered in his own blood, for no apparent reason. He was nearly killed in a car accident.

You wonder if he's putting you on, but he does not flinch. "I seem to have nine lives," Grayson said. "I've given a lot of thought to what I wanted to do in life."

Grayson got into Harvard and to cover expenses worked as a night watchman and cleaned toilets. He finished in three years, "and pretty close to the top of my class." He went on to work as an economist but returned to Harvard for a law degree and master's in public policy. Took him four years. "And I was working at the time." Then, he said, he went on to work for some of the titans of the legal field — Ginsberg, Bork, Scalia.


Working full time as a lawyer until joining Congress, Grayson made a name filing whistle­blower lawsuits on contractor fraud and war profiteering in Iraq. The cases, involving big names like Halliburton and Custer Battles, were met with resistance from the Bush administration. Grayson said he was subjected to gag orders and stalling tactics. His quest garnered national attention, including a profile in the Wall Street Journal, which said he was waging a "one-man crusade," and an extensive piece in Vanity Fair, where Grayson disclosed he liked to dress flamboyantly to hold a jury's attention.

The experience, Grayson said, stirred his interest in politics and his antiwar stand played prominently in two runs for Congress, including an unsuccessful bid in 2006.

"Nobody can say you volunteered to be disabled the rest of your life. Nobody can say you volunteered to die and leave behind your wife and children. It's wrong. It's colonialism," he said, starting to cry. Recently he was one of only a handful of Democrats, and the only from Florida, to vote against further funding of the war.

Check out the entire article since there's lots more there.

No wonder the Republicans have a big target on his head. We could use a whole lot more like him in our Congress.

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