In December 2010 we spoke about members of Congress who were receiving public pensions while continuing to be paid for public office. We compiled a list of 32 out of 535 members of Congress that were revieving public funds. We missed 1 member. (Thank you Michael Horne of Milwaukee Magazine News Buzz)
We asked Rep. Maurice Hinchey about his pension. We asked why he would not defer taking his pension until he no longer was being paid by the public for his job in Congress. We recieved no answer.
We asked for our readers to verify our list, and to add those we may have missed. We asked you to find out why your Congress members were being paid by you for a pension, while you pay for their work in Congress (not including the very generous and exclusive health care and other packages). The Milwaukee Magazine News Buzz took us up on this.
On Jan 7th, we learned that Rep. Gwendolynne S. Moore was missed. She recieves a $12,440 pension from the state of Wisconsin, on top of her pay of $174,000 for Congress.
Mr. Michael Horne, who wrote the article, had more luck in recieving an answer from the Government representatives in Wisconsin. He states
“Wendy Riemann, spokesperson for Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, says the congressman decided to start collecting his state pension in 2007. He began doing so, she says, “after he learned that if he passed away before starting to receive that money, he would lose all those earnings.”
At least that explains why the 22nd richest member of Congress would take his public pension while in office. But not everyone understands the point of the question. David Frey, spokesman for Rep. Moore, just seems to miss the point. He stated to Milwaukee News Buzz
“A pension is a contract,” Frey says. “No matter what you do after separation, that contract still exists.”
As we said before, of course these public pensions are a contract. Of course the members of Congress are entitled to the money. In fact we said
“Therefore we wonder why these well-paid and highly pampered elected officials are continuing to take from the limited trough of their constituents. Why are they not electing to delay any funds they are entitled to, until they are no longer actively in public office? Are they giving those funds to charity? Are they giving those funds back to the IRS, to reduce the national deficit – even if such an action is purely a political action and effectively inconsequential?”
Sensenbrenner must use it or lose it. Moore is the 387th most wealth member of Congress, so maybe she needs the extra income. But it’s your money. Do you know how much you are paying your member of Congress? Do you know how much of your money is going to their pensions?
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