If you think Bruce Poliquin is a lousy congressman, just be glad he's not your police chief. In three and a half years in Congress, Poliquin's crowning achievement is the introduction of the Food Stamp Integrity Act.

Poliquin's bold and daring bill takes dead aim at one of the 2nd Congressional District's most powerful voting blocks: convicted felons. The bill would bar all convicted felons from receiving food stamps, for life. So much for redemption.

According to Poliquin himself, he introduced the legislation because for years Maine law enforcement officials have been finding EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards at drug arrests. This apparently constitutes proof that EBT cards have for years been traded for drugs, leading at least one columnist to suggest that all members of Congress be required to take at least one 5-minute Intro to Evidence 101 class.

But Poliquin's bill does nothing to address the issues of cash, cars, tables and chairs, all of which have also been found at drug busts in Maine.

"This has got to stop!" Poliquin thundered to his snoring House colleagues as they didn't rush to co-sponsor his bold initiative. In fact it took Poliquin a year to attract any co-sponsors. It's hard to recruit co-sponsors when the possibility of running into a reporter leaves one hiding under one's desk.

But eventually Poliquin managed to scrape a few co-sponsors off the bottom of the House GOP barrel. My favorite is Rep. Steve King of Iowa. If you judge a man by the company he keeps, Bruce Poliquin is in deep, well, trouble.

For a year Poliquin's extremely vital food stamp bill has been gathering dust in the Agriculture Committee, where Steve King is finding it hard to move along the bill under the burden of his 55-percent absentee rate. Good thing the bill's not in the Small Business Committee, where King is MIA fully 90 percent of the time.

But it gets better. King has a long history of racist remarks. My favorite is when he quoted right-wing nationalist Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban as saying: "Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one." Indeed.

But Poliquin's recruitment of this creature from the dark lagoon augurs poorly for his bill. In his first 15 years in Congress, Steve King sponsored all of four bills, not one of which became law.

Poliquin's bill would make it harder to replace missing EBT cards, but no reason is given for why this is needed, prompting at least one columnist to suggest Poliquin rename the bill "The Sheer Viciousness and Where the Hell Are My Car Keys Act."

The bill would also bar food stamps for those convicted of defrauding the government. Fortunately for Poliquin, his bill doesn't block food stamps for owners of million-dollar beachfront homes who claim highly questionable conservation easements, or multi-millionaire homeowners who are every single year late with their property taxes.

Poliquin calls his bill "A Maine commonsense solution to a national problem." Whatever this guy's taking, I want some. According to the federal government's own General Accounting Office, the food stamp fraud rate is .09 percent. That's less than one-thousandth. For every $1,000 in food stamps appropriations, fully 90 cents is ripped off. No wonder the country's in such bad shape.

That's an annual fraud loss equal to about one 25,000th of what Poliquin recently handed his Wall Street pals in the form of tax breaks.

Another bold and daring Poliquin bill takes dead aim at another powerful 2nd District constituency: food-stamp-wielding terrorists. The bill, which would block food stamps for anyone convicted of aiding terrorists, is called the "No Welfare for Terrorists Act." And no, I didn't make that up. Poliquin says he doesn't know of any terrorism abettor receiving welfare, but hey, you never know. Better to be ready just in case.

As of press time, Poliquin hasn't introduced any bills to ban food stamps for jaywalkers, rabid squirrels or poorly dressed children.

Lawrence Reichard is a first-place Maine Press Association winner, freelance writer and activist living in Belfast.