Rep. Axne Introduces Commonsense Legislation to Cut Off Pensions for Corrupt Members of Congress
Today, Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03) and a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the No Congressionally-Obligated Recurring Revenue Used as Pensions To Incarcerated Officials Now (NO CORRUPTION) Act. This legislation would prevent Members of Congress who have been convicted of certain crimes, such as bribery, perjury, or conspiracy from collecting their taxpayer-funded pension by closing a loophole in existing law.
"This is simple: Members of Congress who abuse the public trust and are convicted of felonies should not receive their congressional pension," said Rep. Axne. "When I ran for Congress, I promised Iowans that I would hold government accountable and root out corruption. It's outrageous that this loophole exists -- and our bipartisan legislation proves that both Democrats and Republicans can agree that we need to end this corrupt practice."
The bipartisan Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 banned Members of Congress from receiving their congressional pension if they were convicted of certain crimes. However, due to ambiguity in the law, convicted members can continue to receive their pension if they do not fully exhaust their appeals in court. The NO CORRUPTION Act would close this loophole by halting pension payments immediately following a conviction.
Rep. Axne is committed to fighting corruption in Washington and making sure Iowans' tax dollars are working for them.
Last month, Axne became a founding member of the new End Corruption Caucus.
Last year, Rep. Axne introduced the Clean Up Congress Act to prevent member pay raises until Congress eliminates budget deficits, prohibit members from using taxpayer dollars on first class flights, and institute a lifetime ban on members becoming lobbyists.
The legislation was introduced along with Representatives Harley Rouda (CA-48), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Paul Gosar (AZ-04), Brad Schneider (IL-10), and Mark Meadows (NC-11). A Senate version of the bill was introduced by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Rick Scott (R-FL).
"No Member of Congress convicted of public corruption crimes should ever be entitled to more of the taxpayers' hard-earned money--period," said Rep. Meadows. "This is a common sense bill to root out corruption in the people's House and hold Congressional representatives accountable to voters that elect them. I fully support it and call on all members who are serious about cleaning up the halls of Congress to push for its passage."
"I think most Americans would be outraged if they knew about the various perks that former Members of Congress receive," said Rep. Norman. "One of the worst has to do with pension-eligible Members who are convicted of a felony while in office. As the law currently stands, even a felony conviction wouldn't disqualify a former Member from receiving a pension for the rest of his or her life. This is yet another fitting example of 'The Swamp' that needs to be fixed, and I'm happy to introduce bipartisan, bicameral legislation to do just that. It's time Members of Congress start acting like everyday Americans, not elitist politicians sheltered by their own rules."
"Members of Congress hold a position of public trust and must be held to a high standard," said Rep. Schneider. "It is outrageous that members facing a felony conviction can continue to collect a taxpayer-funded pension. I am proud to support this commonsense legislation to strengthen ethics rules on Congress."
"Criminal Members of Congress do not deserve tax-payer funded pensions," said Rep. Rouda. "The NO CORRUPTION Act would right this egregious wrong, which has allowed supposed public servants to collect monthly checks for life, even after being convicted of a felony. If my colleagues are serious about cleaning up Washington, they should support this common-sense bill. I thank Congressman Norman and Senator Rosen for their leadership and initiative to drain 'The Swamp.'"
"Members of Congress should not be eligible for taxpayer-funded retirement packages after breaching the trust of the public by committing felony offenses. This should be a no brainer, but far too often the Washington Swamp takes care of their own, and disgraced Members are able to draw taxpayer-funded pensions for the remainder of their life," said Rep. Gosar. "I'm happy to join this effort which has brought together Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate."
"As elected officials, we have a responsibility to act as good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and this includes preventing Members of Congress convicted of serious crimes while in office from receiving taxpayer-funded pensions," said Sen. Rosen. "This bipartisan legislation would close a loophole allowing these politicians to collect pensions for years after being found guilty of committing a crime. I will continue working in Congress to stamp out corruption in politics and protecting the hard-earned money of our nation's taxpayers."
"It is unthinkable that a former member of Congress could be convicted of a crime involving public corruption and still benefit off the taxpayer dollars of hardworking families," said Sen. Scott. "I came to the U.S. Senate to fight for the best interests of Floridians, not career politicians, and I'm proud to sponsor common sense legislation to prevent criminals from getting taxpayer-funded retirement benefits."