Former Rep. Dan Rostenkowski Dies at 82

Posted August 11, 2010 at 12:13pm

Former Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.), the longtime Ways and Means chairman whose Congressional career ended in a corruption scandal, died Wednesday at the age of 82, NBC News in Chicago reported.

Rostenkowski died at his summer home in Wisconsin. The cause of death was not stated.

During his 36 years in the House, the Chicago lawmaker became known for his ability to close tough deals on legislation that came before the tax committee; he played a key role in the creation of Medicare and in the 1986 overhaul of the tax code.

But Rostenkowski was forced to step aside as chairman of the committee in 1994, when he was indicted on corruption charges.

Rostenkowski was defeated for re-election in November 1994 by a little-known GOP opponent.

He served 15 months in prison and two months in a halfway house after pleading guilty to two counts of mail fraud. President Bill Clinton later pardoned Rostenkowski in 2000. The president explained in his autobiography that Rostenkowski “had done a lot for his country and had more than paid for his mistakes.”