U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh slammed Sen. Dick Durbin late last week for the Democrat's plan to look into bounties in the National Football League.
The assistant Senate majority leader and Illinois Democrat announced last week that he would set up a Judiciary Committee hearing about bounties in professional football and other major sports in the wake of news that New Orleans Saints players received extra cash for hits that hurt particular opponents.
“It is shocking that Senator Durbin wants the Judiciary Committee to focus on professional sports and athletes worth millions of dollars while American families are still struggling to put food on the table. This is political grandstanding at its worst," Walsh, a Tea Party favorite, said in a statement.
The New Orleans Saints' crush-for-cash bounty system already cost them head coach Sean Payton for all of next season and general manager Mickey Loomis for half of it, plus two second-round draft picks and a $500,000 fine.
Former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who oversaw and contributed money to the illegal fund, was suspended indefinitely.
"Let's be real basic about it here. If this activity were taking place off of a sporting field, away from a court, nobody would have a second thought (about whether it's wrong). `You mean, someone paid you to go out and hurt someone?'" Durbin told the AP.
"It goes way beyond the rules of any sporting contest, at least team contest, to intentionally inflict harm on another person for a financial reward," he said.
Walsh, who faces Democrat and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth in the November election, accused Durbin of wasting taxpayer money on the bounty investigation, and called it a "nonissue."
“Senator Durbin, just a quick reminder: we are $15.6 trillion in debt, the cost of Obama’s Health Care plan has been doubled and is now projected to cost taxpayers $1.76 trillion, and the unemployment is still more than 8 percent after 3 years. Senator Durbin, it is time to get serious," Walsh added.
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