Senate Votes to Deny Pensions to Convicted Lawmakers
Gee, why didn't the Republicans pass this bill after several members of their party were given jail time for breaking the law?
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., sponsored the bill, which would not apply retroactively. Kerry said such retroactive application would be unconstitutional.
Cunningham is serving an eight-year prison term after pleading guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors who sought earmarks and to evading more than $1 million in taxes. He is eligible for an estimated $64,000 annual pension with his military service, including $36,000 a year from his eight terms in Congress. An attorney for Cunningham declined to comment.
The measure has strong bipartisan support in the House.
At least 20 former lawmakers convicted of crimes are eligible for taxpayer-funded pensions, some as much as $125,000 a year, according to the National Taxpayers Union, which supports denying pensions to lawmakers who commit felonies.