Do Lawmakers Who Commit Crimes Still Receive Retirement Benefits?

On September 14, 2007, President Bush signed a bill that contains a version of the "no pensions for Congressional felons" reform we sought. From here on out, Members of Congress who commit certain felonies (like perjury, bribery, or fraud) related to their official duties won't be allowed to draw from a Congressional pension "honey-pot" that overtaxed American workers are forced to fill. Previously, only a conviction for a "high crime" such as treason or espionage constitutes sufficient grounds for a lawmaker to be deprived of his or her pension. The 1954 "Hiss Act" originally included such offenses as bribery to constitute removal of a pension, but the law was narrowed in 1961. In March of 1995 NTU research determined that at least 13 former lawmakers convicted of offenses such as bribery and tax evasion were collecting taxpayer-funded benefits, some doing so while sitting in jail. Other convicted lawmakers, ranging from Dan Rostenkowski (1995) to James Traficant (2003) to Randy "Duke" Cunningham (2005) have joined this list.