(ETW April Fools) Top Democrat on T&I Arrested for Fundraising at Local Gas Station
“Pennies for progress, help save America’s roads, pennies for progress!”
BY GREG ROGERS
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The top Democrat on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Peter DeFazio (D-OR) was arrested on charges of aggressive panhandling at a Washington, D.C. gas station yesterday.
According to eyewitnesses, the Oregon Congressman stood next to the entrance of the gas station for most of the morning, shaking an empty Big Gulp cup full of change.
“He kept saying, ‘A penny for progress’ and shaking that cup as he walked up to people pumping gas,” said Michael Smith, a local plumber. “I knew something was fishy when he started saying that he was fundraising for America’s roads – who would do such a crazy thing? I told him I’d love to help and all, but I already pay my taxes at the pump – just like everybody else.”
“He refused to take the nickel I gave him, insisting that something called ‘index caps’ stopped him from taking more than 2.5% of pennies per year or something,” said Jenny Cardenas, who runs a boutique lobbying firm across the street from the station.
Cardenas pulled out a pamphlet that the Oregon Congressman had given her. “PENNIES FOR PROGRESS” was written in bold red letters over a stock photo of pennies being poured out of a piggy bank. A series of equations seemed to have been hastily scribbled in the margins.
“This was already on the pamphlet when he handed it to me,” she said. “I hope he didn’t still need it.”
She paused, deep in thought. “Come to think of it, he was a rather strange old man. Do you think his relatives know where he is? Should we call for help?”
The ranking Democrat on the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee had mostly amicable interactions with the “People of the Pump,” as he called them. According to one family visiting from Oregon, he even took time out of his fundraising operation to buy them lunch at Capital Grille.
But other customers were not as impressed, causing the gas station attendant to eventually call the police after he became increasingly agitated at the Pump People’s unwillingness to share their pennies.
Madness, perhaps – suggested David Mikkeller, a Montana taxidermist visiting DC who saw the arrest after DeFazio accosted the driver of a Hummer – but maybe also genius.
“You know, if the government decided to only take out small amounts from our gas – maybe only increasing it to account for the nominal increases to costs of living that can largely be attributed to inflation, capping it at maybe 2.5% annually – it would be a great way to raise additional funds for our roads. I might not give him a nickel, but I would certainly give him a penny.”
He laughed, lifting up cap to run his hands through his hair, “I might even vote for one of those loopy Democrats if that were the case.”