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Writer delivers letters to Congress where gyrocopter pilot failed

By Tomas Monzon
Writer delivers letters to Congress where gyrocopter pilot failed
Doug Hughes, the pilot who landed a gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, holds a poster of a stamp bearing his likeness as he speaks to the media following a procedural hearing at the Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington, D.C., on May 21. Hughes, who was attempting to deliver letters to Congress, is facing up to 9 and a half years in prison. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) -- Connecticut writer Joe Lane finished the work of a Florida postal service worker whose plans for reforming political campaigns went awry after landing his gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Lane planned to deliver the 535 letters, one to each member of Congress, signed by Florida postal worker Doug Hughes.

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Hughes had sought to deliver the letters, which call for campaign finance reform, after landing his homemade gyrocopter on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on April 15. He was immediately arrested.

Lane, 71, hit an obstacle, too. He learned that mass deliveries are prohibited in the House unless they are inspected and delivered by Capitol Police. Senate offices, however, do allow the delivery of unsealed letters.

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Beginning at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Lane delivered letters to the senators' offices, with the help of interns from local advocacy groups.

Illinois Sen. Richard J. Durbin planned to introduce the Fair Elections Now Act only two hours later. The bill would create a voluntary system of public financing for Senate candidates, with campaign fundraising capped at $125 per donor.

Hughes, meanwhile, is back in Florida, where he was placed on home detention. He could face up to nine and a half years in prison if convicted of six federal charges connected to his flight.

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In an op-ed he wrote for The Washington Post on May 15, Hughes said he hoped that by putting his freedom on the line, "others might realize the necessity of preserving and protecting our government of, by and for the people."

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