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The Congressman Who Broke All the Rules

These days we’re rarely shocked when we learn that a politician has enjoyed lavish benefits at public expense or found some way to exploit public office for personal gain. That makes all the more remarkable the story of former U.S. Rep. Andrew “Andy” Jacobs Jr. (D-Ind.), who during his three decades in Congress declined to accept the monthly disability payments to which he was entitled for his injuries in combat as a Marine during the Korean War.

Andy Jacobs Jr. with dog“He didn’t think it was right to take that money, since he had a job with a good wage,” Gary Taylor, his former campaign manager, told the Associated Press. “He was frugal, and that’s something I think the public really seemed to take to about him.”

Jacobs, who died on Dec. 28 at age 81 in Indianapolis, was an idealistic Capitol Hill iconoclast. In contrast to many in Congress, he fought to protect Medicare and Social Security while practicing personal austerity, and tweaked his colleagues by attempting to whittle away at elected officials’ perquisites. Jacobs also wasn’t above championing a few eccentric causes, such as his repeated efforts to replace “The Star Spangled Banner” with “America the Beautiful” as the national anthem.

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Here are a dozen interesting facts about Jacobs:


After retiring from Congress in 1997, Jacobs resurfaced as a opponent of the Iraq war, which he charged was financed by foreign borrowing.


Photo of Jacobs and C-5: Wikipedia

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