Congress Shames the Peanut Man

Salmonella hearing makes an example of Fifth-taking exec
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2009 10:03 AM CST

Congress knew it wasn’t going to get any answers out of Stew Parnell, the man whose company's peanut butter is suspected of killing eight people. Parnell doggedly took the Fifth on even the simplest questions, but it didn’t matter. Parnell was summoned only so he could be chastised, “put through the walk of shame,” writes Dana Milbank of the Washington Post. Think of it as the modern equivalent of putting him in the stocks.

“For once, lawmakers’ grandstanding served a useful purpose,” Milbank writes: deterring anyone else as brazen as Parnell. The peanut man didn’t bother showing up to hear the grieving relatives of his company's alleged victims testify, and he looked bored throughout his flogging. When it was over and he’d ditched the cameras waiting outside, he smiled as a colleague gave him a congratulatory pat on the back. “Parnell, it would seem, is a man without shame.” (More Stewart Parnell stories.)

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