73.9 F
College Station
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Why Are Ex-lawmakers Convicted of Corruption Still Receiving Federal Pensions?

Local News

College Station Bans Traditional Pet Shops

At Thursday's meeting, the College Station city council passed an ordinance that prohibits the sale of non-rescue dogs and cats in pet...

College Station to Vote on ROO in Special Meeting Today

The College Station City Council meets Monday at 4 p.m. at city hall to consider a Restricted Occupancy Overlay (ROO). The ordinance would allow single-family...

College Station Plans on Borrowing Additional $62 Million Without Taxpayer Vote

The College Station City Council voted to begin the process of issuing $62 million in certificates of obligations for capital projects. The...

Brazos Valley Hospitalizations Continue to Decline After Mask Order Rescinded

Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-34 on March 2, 2021, and the order went into effect on March 10, 2021....

(Evgen_Prozhyrko/Getty Images) Washington bureaucrats have stymied efforts to ensure that a law against the practice is being enforced.

Members of Congress convicted of corruption should be legally prohibited from receiving taxpayer money. This is simple common sense, as even Congress itself agrees. Yet federal bureaucrats have stymied efforts to make it so.

After several high-profile scandals involving politicians, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA) of 2007 specified corruption-related crimes that would lead to the loss of a lawmaker’s congressional pension. Additional crimes were added to the list in 2012 by the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act.

Since these restrictions could not be applied retroactively, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) monitored the criminal cases of crooked politicians to see who would be the first to lose a pension. It looked like it would be Representative Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.) who was found guilty of 23 charges of corruption and sentenced to ten years in prison in 2016. Fattah’s 22 years in Congress would have entitled him to a $55,000 annual pension assuming he opted for the maximum benefit level, had he not been convicted.

Yet after reaching out to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the agency responsible for administering such benefits, NTUF was informed that Fattah remained eligible due to a loophole in HLOGA: The law applied only upon “final conviction” of a crime, which happens when all appeals have been exhausted. Since the appeals process can often drag on for years, this was a huge gift to convicted lawmakers.

In 2017, after the loophole was identified, Representative Claudia Tenney (R., N.Y.) introduced legislation to close it. Her bill would have OPM withhold payment of pensions upon conviction. If a lawmaker’s convictions were overturned on appeal, he would then receive the full amount owed to him, but he wouldn’t collect taxpayer dollars while the appeals process played out. That way, a fair balance could be struck between protecting taxpayers and protecting a lawmaker’s due-process rights. (It’s an approach adopted by Senators Jacky Rosen [D., Nev.] and Rick Scott [R., Fla.], who

Continue reading on National Review

More articles

- Advertisement -

State News

Abbott Announces Special Session Starting July 8

Just a few weeks after the regular legislative session came to a close, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the first of multiple special sessions would...

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Request Medicaid Expansion in Special Session

On Monday, a bipartisan group of Texas lawmakers sent a letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott, asking him to put the topic of Medicaid...

Autopsy Report: Property Taxes Will Continue to Rise in Texas

As Texans’ property taxes continue to rise, the Texas Legislature took no decisive action to lower them across the board. Three experts discuss what...

Sid Miller Declines Run for Governor, Will Seek Re-Election

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller announced this week he would run for a third term in 2022, putting to rest any speculation that he...

Polling Shows Wright Leading Ellzey in July Congressional Runoff

North Texas temperatures are heating up this summer, but the competition for an open seat in Congress may be cooling down as polling shows...

Continue reading on National Review