PHILADELPHIA (CN) – Rep. Bob Brady claims The Philadelphia Inquirer defamed him in an editorial that claims he “screwed” taxpayers by steering to a company in his district a $671,000 contract to install energy-efficient lighting to light up the U.S. Capitol dome.
Brady, a Philadelphia Democrat, objects to the unsigned April 3 editorial that began, “How many congressmen does it take to screw in a light bulb? Only one, if your name is Rep. Robert A. Brady (D., Phila.). But the job will cost at least $671,000 in tax money.”
Brady also sued editorial page editor Harold Jackson and the John Doe editorial writer who wrote the allegedly scurrilous opinion. Brady says the company won the contract through honest, competitive bidding.
The allegedly opprobrious editorial continues: “Brady is in charge of changing the exterior lights that illuminate the Capitol dome in Washington. Naturally, he steered the contract to design the new lights to a Philadelphia company in his district, the Lighting Practice.
“The electric bill for lighting the dome the old, wasteful way was about $15,000 per year. With the savings from the new energy-efficient lights, taxpayers should recoup the cost of this contract in about 45 years.
“Of course, the $671,000 price tag doesn’t include installation. As taxpayers should know, the screwing is extra.”
Brady, whose dudgeon was reliably reported as “high,” claims, “Contrary to the purported facts stated in the article, Congressman Brady never steered the contract for design of exterior lighting at the Capitol to the Lighting Practice and did not ‘screw’ the taxpayers.”
He claims the article “falsely and maliciously impugned Congressman Brady’s ethics and integrity.”
Brady demands more than $50,000 and punitive damages. He is represented in state court by Sprague & Sprague, of Philadelphia.