Skip to comments.CA: Congressman's bribery plea sparks call to deny pensions (Duke stands to pocket 40K/year)
Posted on 12/14/2005 1:16:50 PM PST by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican House members disturbed that their former GOP colleague Randy "Duke" Cunningham will get to keep his pension despite pleading guilty to bribery want to pass a law to strip federal pensions from white-collar criminals.
Under federal law, only a conviction for a crime against the United States, such as treason or espionage, can cause a member of Congress or other federal employee to lose his or her government pension.
That means Cunningham, a San Diego-area Republican, will keep his pension despite admitting taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors and others in exchange for government contracts.
Cunningham's congressional pension would be around $40,000 per year, according to an Office of Personnel Management formula. He resigned last month and faces 10 years in prison when he's sentenced in February.
"It's time to reassure the American people that we are serious about upholding ethical standards," Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., said Wednesday.
"There's no doubt that Duke Cunningham is the present impetus for our efforts," he added.
Terry and five other Republicans spoke at a Capitol Hill press conference Wednesday to introduce the "Public Trust and Accountability Act." The bill would add a list of white collar crimes including bribery, solicitation of gifts, perjury, making false claims and lying to a grand jury to the offenses that would result in loss of federal pensions. The legislation would apply to all federal employees.
Similar legislation by Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., would apply only to members of Congress. The House passed a bill like that in 1996 but it didn't make it through the Senate.
Various members of Congress, mostly Republicans, are under scrutiny for possible ethics violations, and lawmakers said there was a critical mass in support of denying pensions to white-collar criminals.
"I think it's something we need to do in light of everything that's gone on," said Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla.
Well, this is a good thing, but what about all the Democrat Congresspeople who are as corrupt as the day is long? Duke may have been a dork, but several Democrat Congresspeople have made a career out of corruption.
Does Bill Clinton get to keep his pension?
Too bad those who abused the Capitol Hill "bank" and Dan Rostenkowski couldn't retroactively have their pensions adjusted, it would only seem fair.
I hear ya on the AP,, what they do is despicable.
Memo to self: Cunningham should have to give up his pension.
Like their aren't any Democrats getting sweaty knees, hoping this never comes to a vote?
Further no retirements should be allowed after arrest until cleared.
If the law passes he would as long as he didn't commit new crimes. Bills of attainder are not allowed.
"I fully support stripping of pensions at all levels."
I'm with you where felony has occurred, and in Cunningham's case, he has admitted it. Rostenkowski should have his revoked if it hasn't already been done.
I don't care that he was a Vietnam 'hero', he sold out his heroism and all that good will and his tens of thousands of constituents all for a house, a Rolls Royce and a couple of antique commodes! This bastard was effectively a war-time profiteer. I'm asking for that full 10 years for this crocodile tear shedding scum.
The law needs to get with the times. Any high official *bribed* should be stripped of such honors, especially one who may have put troops in harms way by helping contractors he was on the take for during wartime.
Point well taken on the "various members of Congress..." comment. That stood out like a wart on a witch's none.
How about former Speaker Foley from Washington who made off with a couple of warehouses of congressional office furniture when he left? And Tip O'Neil who stole a valuable grandfather clock -- a national treasure when he retired. That theft didn't come to light until his heirs tried to claim a large tax deduction when they donated it to a Boston museum.
Paul Wellstone was a professor from a podunk college with a net worth of less than $100,000. Yet his estate was figured in the several millions $$$ after less than 2 terms in the Senate. I wonder where that wealth came from?
Then there are the grandest thieves of all -- Bill & Hillary Clinton -- who furnished their 4 domiciles with furniture and accessories stolen from the permanent White House collections. Now we know that they promised to send it back; but I never saw a list, or an article, detailing what was actually returned and comparing against what was taken. Did you? And does a thief get off the hook just by returning the goods? Not usually. The Chief Usher removed the Presidential bust of JFK from a box that Clinton was packing himself when Clinton turned his back so that that didn't walk!
Good post. Maybe an "officially stolen property" book could be compiled. Might be a big seller.
Just whack them back to the same sort of service computation applicable to a federal employee and you'll cut their pension benefits in half.
In fact, if someone can get Congress to pass a law to that effect, I'd really enjoy being the guy who got to do that.