In a Dec. 12 letter, Mike Gonzalez of the Heritage Foundation took columnist Dana Milbank [Sunday Opinion, Dec. 9] to task for criticizing Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mr. Gonzalez’s newly anointed boss at Heritage. Mr. DeMint had complained that President Obama’s 2008 stimulus package was a “fraud.”

Even after noting that unemployment had fallen to 7.7 percent and that the economy is growing at a rate of 2.7 percent, Mr. Gonzalez asked rhetorically how Mr. Milbank defined “fraud,” the implication being that the president was guilty of fraud when he supported the stimulus.

I don’t know about Mr. Milbank, but I use the legal definition: Fraud is a false statement knowingly made to deceive, on which the victim relies reasonably to his or her detriment. Mr. DeMint’s characteristically overheated critique of the president seems a lot closer to fraud than anything the president said in supporting the stimulus package.

Robert J. McManus, Bethesda