Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Congressional felons could lose pensions
Over the past few weeks, your calls for an end to fat pensions for congressional criminals have gotten the ears of both sides of the U.S. Capitol.

By an 87-0 count, the Senate recently passed legislation that would abolish pensions for lawmakers convicted of the biggies: Fraud, bribery, conspiracy. Those are the financial crimes that lead to ethics disasters, like those of former Congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham, for whom the act is dubiously named.

And just last night in the house, freshman Democrat Nancy Boyda of Kansas filed her bill, H.R. 476, which looks a lot like the Senate version. It could pass if it comes up for its scheduled vote this Friday.

But this is Washington after all, so although the speed with which this legislation is moving is admirable to the rest of us taxpayers, the nitty-gritty exposes some "hole-e-mole-e's."

This is what many of you told us on this blog: Any lawmaker convicted of any crime should be denied his or her federal taxpayer-funded pension.

This is what the bills say, in essence: Any lawmaker convicted of a very few specific felonies, like bribery and fraud, related to their conduct in office, should be denied a taxpayer-funded pension. So if you are convicted of any other felony, yes, even murder, you still get a pension.

Oh, and one more hole. If a certain lawmaker is convicted of a certain specific felony and does forfeit his or her pension, Congress must evaluate what the loss of that income would do to his or her family. If this would leave the lawmaker's spouse or children destitute, then special provisions should be made.

Congresswoman Nancy Boyda says, "Hey, it's a start." Yep, and there's a long way to go.
Posted By Drew Griffin, CNN Correspondent: 4:03 PM ET
  69 Comments
Will taking pensions away from these criminals really save us money. These men probably have families and if there is no income, won't they apply for food stamps, go on welfare and if they are really down and out, apply for Medicaid for health coverage. When criminals get out of jail and have no money, they either go back to a life of crime or they also go on welfare. Aren't taxpayers going to be supporting them one way or another. Taking their pensions away probably hurts their families much more than it will hurt them. Just a thought people, don't throw tomatoes at me!
Posted By Anonymous Christina, Windber, PA : 4:34 PM ET
Drew,

Maybe it might be better if the legislation failed to pass as it is currently written. Once something is on the books Congress can always point to it and say, see we have something in place--no need to change. The issue dies. So I guess I would say, no, it is not a good start. Start over and try again. I don't think that Congress pays into Social Security. If not, they should and then their family would have that to fall back on if a federal pension was lost. It is what the rest of us have.
Posted By Anonymous Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 4:37 PM ET
Great. Now can someone in the Congress abolish that rule that allows House and Senate members to vote "themselves a raise". Thank you.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 4:49 PM ET
At first I did think about the families and the possible financial hardship bought about by taking the pension away but here is a harsh reality about today's American politian. In today's politics if you wish to be a member of Congress, the Senate, etc. you have to be rich, make that at least millionaire status, to begin even thinking of entering the political arena. There are no "struggling" polititians today. These people work years in Corporate America raking in millions and then turn to public service. Pay attention to these people and you will notice the designer suits and the weekend homes. Why should a congressional criminal be treated any different than a civilian criminal? Wouldn't it set a better example to treat them exactly the same? Don't tell me "this is a good start" when it is only in the interest of the congressional members and not the tax paying public of which they serve.
Posted By Anonymous Katherine, Woodland Hills, CA : 5:00 PM ET
It's a good thing that someone caught the loopholes in some of the democratic bills. BUT it sure as heck is a shame that for six years plus the republicans have passed bill after bill after bill that is determental to the citizens of this country and not one....not one damn member of the main stream media has said a word about. But that's typical....Republican media...sure are a bunch of kiss ups.
Posted By Anonymous Marge- Hibbing Mn : 5:01 PM ET
Is this a joke? So using these standards, maybe ALL criminals should receive taxpayer pensions. A criminal is a criminal whether or not he holds a congressional seat. If a congressperson can commit murder and still receive money, do we owe Charles Manson, too?? This is mind numbingly ridiculous. This was a bill desinged to pacify the masses for a while.
But at least CNN did affect some kind of change.
Posted By Anonymous Debbie Darby, Denham Springs, LA : 5:03 PM ET
If the voters vote in a person already convicted of a felony, then why should this person not be paid a pension for his congressional service.
Dont put criminals in office and there is no problem.
Those that commit criminal acts while in service, thats a different story. Yank the pension. Those that commit criminal acts after service, also yank thier pension.
Best yet, if voters used better critical judgement in thier vote, maybe there would be a better chance at keeping out the rotten apples.
Posted By Anonymous Paul B, Phx AZ : 5:04 PM ET
Dear Drew,

Doesn't anyone in Congress understand English? We said they should be denied their pensions for committing "any crime." Corruption runs deep in both parties; this is nothing more than a time wasting "delay tactic" designed to see if we will lose interest in this issue. We must continue to follow through and show the resolve demonstrated during the last elections.

As for their loss of income harming their families: if these corrupt officials really cared about their families they would not commit crimes in the first place.

Passing a weak bill like H.R. 476 will only allow Congress to waste more valuable taxpayer time and money on an issue that could be remedied with more thorough legislation.

Drew, please don't lose interest in this issue; I know I won't.

Jo Ann
Posted By Anonymous Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 5:04 PM ET
most people in congress are independently wealthy, taking their pension really wouldn't hurt them.
What disgust me is they get a pension after six years of service while a person in the military gets to serve 20 years to get 40% of their base pay and reduced benefits. all federal employees should share the same retirement plan.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Miller, Overland Park KS : 5:08 PM ET
Drew:
If you or I were denied a pension because we were guilty of a serious crime no one would reconsider that denial because we had a family that would be affected. Why worry about the Congressmens family? They are his responsibility, not ours. It is time we stopped treating politicians like they were something special.
Posted By Anonymous Marc K., Phoenix, AZ : 5:09 PM ET
The are a public servent and should be treated as such. If you are honorably retired from the United States Military and are convicted of ANY felony then you WILL lose your monthly retirement check. How many people were aware of that?
Posted By Anonymous Tom Ingleside, TX : 5:14 PM ET
Personally, I think that their salaries, pensions, and other benefits ought to be put to the voters. That's the only way to make them answerable to the citizens of this country. Hit them in their wallet if they won't address the will of the people.
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Dallas, TX : 5:14 PM ET
Give it our representatives some time. I mean after all, it has taken them several hundred years to propose ammendments to laws that define something as simple as marriage. They just want to get the bill into the door, and then wait until election time to bring up the loophole for political gain. Ahhh, the life of an American politician, so deliberate, yet so conniving.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy M., Portland OR : 5:15 PM ET
Infuriating!!! I have served in the United States Navy for 17 years and I know that once I am retired and if I am conviced of a felony I WILL LOSE MY PENSION regardless of the crime.

If ordinary joe schoe citizen is convicted of a crime there is no other "jury, Congress or panel" to decide what happens to his or her family.

"Oh, and one more hole. If a certain lawmaker is convicted of a certain specific felony and does forfeit his or her pension, Congress must evaluate what the loss of that income would do to his or her family. If this would leave the lawmaker's spouse or children destitute, then special provisions should be made."

The conviced individual obviously didn't care enough about their family to NOT commit the crime of which they are convicted so why should Congress care more?

Congress voted that I should lose my pension if EVER conviced so why are they above the law? This is one of the many reasons that Americans are fed up with our "leaders" who do not lead by example.

My fellow Shipmates, Marines, Soldiers and Airmen put ourselves in harms way to protect the American people but who will protect us from ourselves?

It is not a start it is a miserable failure of leadership. They all suck!!
Posted By Anonymous Carol Ann, New Orleans, LA : 5:17 PM ET
Why are we concerned about families of these privileged individuals? Just because they're related to people who once had the public's trust doesn't mean they should receive better treatment than those who don't have the same connection. This is entitlement at it's worst. No one gives a hoot about the family members of other criminals, destitute or not. Countless families go homeless every year when their primary breadwinner goes behind bars. Many of those families have significantly less resources than those who are related to politicians. The concern should be for them, not for people who often have greater potential to make a go at it.
Posted By Anonymous Brendon, Seattle, WA : 5:19 PM ET
Oh. My. God. The back-slapping and cronyism go on and on and on!! Just exactly when do "We The People" get any say? And just think...these are the same lawmakers trying to force-feed American credibility and legitimacy down the throats of people all over the world. Laughable and pathetic!
Posted By Anonymous Robert W., Annandale, Va. : 5:19 PM ET
Its a shame that the People who are writing this Bill are the same individuals who would be affected by it. Of course they arent going to make this bill 100% perfect. They need loopholes so they can escape with the money one way or another.
Its time for us to cut thier pensions all together. If they cant properly invest 160,000 a year then they deserve to be poor. Not to mention these guys give themselves a raise every year. Time to take away all of the benefits these jerks receive, stop them from being able to vote for thier own pay raise and Hold them accountable like every other person in this country. I also think its important to impose Limits of office again. Lets only keep these sand bags around for 8 years instead of a life time. This country needs a constant rotation of fresh minds!!!
Posted By Anonymous Joe, West Palm Beach FLorida : 5:23 PM ET
What if a regular joe does a crime and gets sent to jail. Does his family get any monetary consideration. I don't think so. Feed them cake too.
Posted By Anonymous Nick Loretto Tn : 5:24 PM ET
How refreshing to see our elected officials FINALLY making strides in the right direction to eliminate the payment of pensions to political felons... the "swiss cheese" approach, although not as robust as I'd prefer, is at least a step in the right direction. For those families who will lose their entire pension, perhaps they could receive a percentage of the total pension.
Posted By Anonymous Jonny, Memphis, TN : 5:24 PM ET
This is the biggest crock of you know what to ever come down the pike! If they had to live by the standards the rest of us do; they would all be in jail!
Posted By Anonymous Scott Caseau,Attleboro,MA : 5:24 PM ET
There's always a catch!!!
Posted By Anonymous Barb Kozlowski, Phoenix AZ : 5:28 PM ET
Sure, let them have a pension....at the current poverty level. The amount they get is crazy and is three times as much as I make. Let's see them trya and live off of that!
Posted By Anonymous Cynthia, Las Vegas, Nevada : 5:28 PM ET
One wonders if politicians ever really 'get it.' The People vote to bring an end to the war and the response is to send more troops. The People ask to stop pension payments to crooked politicians, and other politicians pass a bill which could be looked upon as crooked, and is at the least non-responsive. Business as usual in DC.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, Lawrence, KS : 5:31 PM ET
In my eyes, they're already criminals. They get elected for 4 years of service, then get free medical care, outrageous perks and salaries, and then they can retire on a pension plan that would make anyone envious.

I believe that the founding fathers had in mind a time of service where after you were done being a congress person, that you would go back to your civilian life and live on what you could make there. Not to rob your constituents and country blind.

Matter of fact, they are elected to serve our country and our interests as voters, but once they get there, do they consider anyone other than themselves? Actually, it's the voter's fault. We don't hold them accountable. Come on America, it's about time that we do. With the internet and email, we hold enough power over our elected officials to ensure that they do right by us, not just for themselves.
Posted By Anonymous Dan, Cedar Rapids IA : 5:33 PM ET
Once again, Congress says "Do as I say not as I do" when they fund pensions of congressional criminals. They are exempt from ADA and a Ltc. in the airforce convicted of adultry lost his retirement. Who's hurt? My guess, his six mnor children.
Posted By Anonymous Gary W. Welch San Antonio, Texas : 5:34 PM ET
Congressmen should get treated the same as anyone else. As Carol Ann noted, those who serve in the military lose everything. If the bank manager commits fraud, he goes to jail, his family is without. The community should help support the family non-conspirators but not via continuing a pension. We should also not forget that the pensions and benefits are very 'fat', way beyond what is commensurate with the job. The bill is a start but still 'smoke and mirrors'. They can claim they did something and most people will not realize the limits. Still a display of arrogance to the taxpayers.
Posted By Anonymous CB, Wake Forest, NC : 5:35 PM ET
Politicians at that level of success prob. have other assets and don't have to rely on pension alone.

People don't always fall back on pensions, anyway. I work for a Fortune 500 Company that HAS NO PENSION PLAN at all, but the returns on the alternative retirement far exceed a set pension for those who have retired.

If they were smart with money, they wouldn't rely on just the pension anyway. I don't think we have to fret over even jailed politicians making ends meet.
Posted By Anonymous xtina - chicago IL : 5:39 PM ET
I think this is a slap in the face to all taxpaying Americans. Why should we be concerned if a convicted legislator's family goes destitute? If an ordinary citizen is convicted and sent to prison and his family goes destitute, the government does NOT get involved unless the spouse & children file for welfare. Let the convicted legislator's families do the same!!
Posted By Anonymous MBM, Wailuku, HI : 5:48 PM ET
It is a disgrace that the "so called Law-makers" are tailoring this idea to have all these Loop holes. Here is what we the people want: If a government official/worker commites a felony crime...ANY CRIME...they should forfiet ALL RIGHTS, THEY ARE A CRIMINAL and as such should be prosecuted just like anyone else...NO SPECIAL ANYTHING!

And as a side note, if they are dumb enough to try and do this stuff they should have THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT IT WOULD DO TO THEIR FAMILIES...in other words TOO BAD they have to suffer like EVERYBODY ELSE. SInce when does the court system look at a criminals family and say "oh, you have 8 kids and you sold crack but we don't want to affect your family...CRIME IS CRIME serve the TIME.
Posted By Anonymous peter, los angeles Ca. : 5:52 PM ET
The families of criminal politicians are of about as much concern to me as my family is to them. Again and again the legislators make it more difficult to live comfortably and provide for our families. As a man who works two jobs to rent a modest home and own a used pickup truck, I have no sympathy for violators of the public trust. Let them suffer the same consequences as we taxpayers when convicted of criminal behaviour regardless of degree.
Posted By Anonymous Robert P, Roxborto, NC : 5:54 PM ET
Wow Drew,
A Whole lot of "Hole-e Mole-e's" in that legislation. Swiss cheese has less craters. However, if there is a bright side, they know we are Watching. And it's a start, but it would be nice if an ending to this saga took ALL the pensions away from a convicted felon. No More "Hole-e Mole-e's please. Return their pensions to sender..Address unknown..No mercy for the convicted..No mercy shown..Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 5:57 PM ET
Why should congressmen/women who are convicted of any felony be provided a taxpayer funded pension? If an employee of a private/public company is convicted of a crime against their company, the company doesn't provide them with a pension. No matter what other good the employee did for the company. Congressmen/women should not be exempted from this same standard. ESPECIALLY if it involves personal profit from their position.
Posted By Anonymous Russ, Dallas, TX : 6:00 PM ET
I don't think anybody who can afford to be in congress is going to have destitute children. That is ridiculous. I never did hear back from my congressman on this issue. Keep pushing!
Posted By Anonymous Jess, Paris, KY : 6:01 PM ET
Anderson: Duke Cunningham was a sworn constitutional commissioned federal officer in the US Navy. He still held that commisson when he retired and drew a pension. As a congressman, he swore that same oath. When you go to jail for violating your oaths to the constitution you loose everything, pension from the Navy and pension from Congress. That's the deal with being in public service. Duke knew better.
Posted By Anonymous DM Bradford, Seattle, WA : 6:03 PM ET
All elected and appointed U.S. government officials who are convicted of a felony and sent to prison continue to receive their government pensions ranging from as little as $30,000 a year to $160,000 a year even while in prison. If a U.S. Military Veteran with an Honorable Discharge is convicted of a felony they are denied the right to be laid to rest in a U.S. Military Cemetery, also if they are convicted of a Felony while on active duty they lose all rank and military pension. Once again it is time for the Commandants and Commanders of our Veteran Organizations to go public and fight for our Veterans whom have offered there lives for the freedoms of our country.
Posted By Anonymous Adolph F. Panella Jr - USMC - Valrico, FL 33594 : 6:04 PM ET
Democrats, if you do sameol sameol, we'll not vote for you in 2 years. Ya, I know yo don't care.
Posted By Anonymous Winston Hsia, San Antonio, Texas : 6:05 PM ET
In the private sector, if an employee commits a felony crime, regardless of any relevancy to his/her current position, he/she stands a very real chance of losing everything that he/she has worked for, including (but not limited to:) pension eligibility, benefit packages, insurance coverage, and at the very least, their paychecks. Family financial status is not considered a valid reason to grant leniency.
It's time that Congress be held to an official code of conduct similar to those employed in the private sector. Felony convictions, regardless of relevancy to their position within Congress, should warrant immediate expulsion from Congress, and immediate loss of any and all benefit eligibility, including pensions.
Maybe once we get a Congressional code of conduct with some teeth, we'll see fewer of the "Duke" Cunninghams feeding off the taxpayers for years on end.
After all, it's the standard the people who voted them in live by.
Posted By Anonymous Jill -Tacoma, WA : 6:06 PM ET
What we have is a freakin' House of Lords in all but name! Once again this reaffirms my belief that the Criminal Justice system is alive and well....even in the Royal Houses of Congress and Senate!...Oh, I forgot one; There is no honor amongst thieves!
Posted By Anonymous Russ A. Las Vegas, NV : 6:06 PM ET
Hi Drew, The lack of integrity in our elected officials sure sends a lousey message to our children and grandchildren. Without you, CNN, and AC 360, we would never know about these pension laws that reward bad behavior. Keep the light shining on the crooks and those who support these ludicrous laws so we can vote the support group out of office. We need to get back to the government OF the people, FOR the people, and BY the people.
Posted By Anonymous Judy Stage Brooklyn MI : 6:17 PM ET
David Bowie: "Ground Control to Major Tom.
Your circuits dead, there's something wrong. Can you hear me Major Tom.
Here am I floating round my tin can....
And there's nothing I can do".
State & Fed Rep's hate my guts, I'm always e-mailing them with my opinion, perspective, and perceptions. I don't think it does any good, we need to re-iron the rules for civil servants not elite servants. Notice how these politicians are begining to equate themselves to "rockstars". Yeah right.
Get a grip congress, if your a convicted crook you loose your elite status benefits. That might keep you off the roads wasted, accepting bribes for tax payer funded projects, ect.... Felony STOPS the lifetime lotto from rolling in.
Posted By Anonymous John Chamberlain Sturgis, SD : 6:18 PM ET
So let me get this straight so I understand the logic here.

You want these "criminals" to go TO JAIL and the families, who did NOT commit a crime DESERVE TO BE POOR.

Okay, so jail is totally like free room and board. Most poor people wind up on welfare or some sort of assistance.

So where do you think the money will come from to pay the jail to house and feed them? Where does the money come from for welfare? I'm sure you think it won't come out of your pocket but it will make you feel better about yourselves now won't it? Stupidity never ceases to amaze me.
Posted By Anonymous Em, Toronto, Ontario, Canada : 6:20 PM ET
Is there a way to put issues on the next national voting event ???
Posted By Anonymous Winston Hsia, San Antonio, Texas : 6:27 PM ET
It's about time to reduce the size of those pensions. No congressman should be allowed to receive a pension until he/she is the same age as most average Americans receive their pensions. While I'm sounding off - our Congressional people should be under Social Security the same as every other American. NO SPECIAL PENSIONS. Maybe then we would get some real serious reform on SS.
Posted By Anonymous Don Reynolds, Orem ,Utah : 6:28 PM ET
BRAVO! to Congresswoman Boyda! It is encouraging that a freshman congressmember has taken this task on. Congratulations to the Honorable Ms. Boyda!!
Posted By Anonymous Sandy Carey, Orangevale, CA : 6:28 PM ET
It remains apparent that our elected officials think that the American taxpayers are a stupid group of individuals who lack the drive to require accountability from those who hold office. They believe they are above the law and can do what they like to us while setting themselves up for a lifetime of windfalls. Sadly, they are corect. We the taxpayers will not revolt, but we will continue to complain around the water coolers. Where I am employed, if you don't perform at your job, you will be terminated. What the hell are we waitingfor?
Posted By Anonymous Skip Oakdale,Pa. : 6:51 PM ET
And so you think having no bill is better?

I get so tired of people who say "this has holes, don't use it!" Even a band-aid is better than nothing, so let this one pass, and then fight to fill the holes.
Posted By Anonymous Carl, San Diego : 6:52 PM ET
Yes. It is a start. So, even if one of them is convicted of murder, they still get a pension. Hmmm...is it in case a member of congress gets really ticked when a colleague votes against his or her bill?
Posted By Anonymous Carol B., Frederick, MD : 6:55 PM ET
I agree with most of what has been said. These crooks need age limits, and will always have it made as long as they make the rules. Wonder how many of them are at cocktail parties with the rest of the drunks in Congress tonight? They should have to pay back their salary if busted for a felony. I am a retired military man that really has to hussel to make ends meet.When these liars, drunks, crooks etc.etc. leave Washington(if they ever do) they are set for life. I have to wait 3 months for an appointment at the VA and these fat cats get right in to a govt. clinic . Where did we go wrong!!
Posted By Anonymous R, Stephens Euless, Tx. : 6:57 PM ET
Drew/AC360:

The final "hole" mentioned in the blog is an eye opener!

The idea that Congressional members are watching each others back and as well as "the family's" reminds me of the movie, "The Godfather".
Posted By Anonymous Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 7:04 PM ET
I am so tired of hearing criminals weazeling out of their punishments because of what the punishments might do to their spouse or children. Did the spouse serve in Congress? Did the children? The pension is for Congressmen, not the families of Congressmen. We don't owe these families something because they happen to be related to a specific person. Talk about presumptions of entitlement!

Criminal punishments nearly always affect the families of the criminals. By this logic, we shouldn't ever lock anyone up or force them to pay a fine because of the inconvenience it causes the family.

Unpleasant things happen to families all the time. If people can recover after losing their breadwinning spouses to, say, unexpected death or medical catastrophe, they can certainly recover from losing the hope of a criminal spouse's future pension. Guess they're going to have to get jobs like the rest of us.
Posted By Anonymous Catherine Beyer, Appleton, WI : 7:23 PM ET
It's not a start, it's an insult!

The pension is far too generous as is, and they shouldn't get to keep it if they are criminals. Their families can deal with it just like the families of other criminals do - being a politician doesn't mean you deserve special rights.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa, Bothell, WA : 7:24 PM ET
This is absolutely ridiculous! As they are written, neither bill should pass. Perhaps they need someone who can write a bill that is straight-forward and to the point. There should be no need to delay any decision to deny pensions based on any loop-hole. If the offender doesn�t care enough about their family to not commit the crime, why should I care?

The People�s Congressional Bill: �No one can hold a Congressional office if convicted of a felony or misdemeanor resulting in a jail sentence. If any member of Congress is convicted of a felony or misdemeanor resulting in a jail sentence, the offender will be immediately removed from office and all pension and retirement benefits cease immediately.�

DONE

The next president of the United States should be the person who first introduces this bill. Drew, please continue to follow this story and keep us aware of this shameful abuse of power.

By the way, if you want to read the �Retirement Benefits for Members of Congress� it is available in pdf format at: http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL30631.pdf

On another note, I absolutely believe that Congress should NOT be allowed to vote their own salary increase! How many of us would like to be in that position? It should be voted upon by those of us paying their salary, and it should be linked to the cost of living increase granted our senior citizens and the minimum wage.
Posted By Anonymous Pixie, Muncie, IN : 7:41 PM ET
If our lawmakers commit crimes then, "off to jail with you, do not pass go, do not collect pension, I'm sorry you didn't think of your family's financial situation before you did the crime, but that's life for the rest of us, and being an employee of the American people does not make you special Mr/Mrs lawmaker. Your my employee and I do not want to pay a pension to a criminal. Your Fired. I do not want to keep you/your family on the payroll. I can't make my boss keep me on the payroll if I steal from his company. Off with you! Off with you, knave, no pension, no health care, no secretary, office, phone, bodyguard, private schools, no nothing, your family will have to work like mine does."
Posted By Anonymous Colleen Mirabitur Highland, MI : 7:42 PM ET
A felony, how about treason.

In law, treason is the crime of disloyalty to one's nation or state. A person who betrays the nation of their citizenship and/or reneges on an oath of loyalty.

As defined at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treason
Posted By Anonymous Robert Olmedo, West Palm Beach, FL : 7:58 PM ET
Did I hear correctly the other day during your broadcast that these bills are not retroactive? That they only apply to crimes to be committed in the future and not to past crimes? Doesn't that mean that the convicted politians will still continue receiving their hefty pensions?
Posted By Anonymous Leslie, Yokosuka, Japan : 8:07 PM ET
I don't understand the problem our elected officials have with this issue. You can't hold office if you are conficted of a felony so why should you be compensated for commiting one after elected.
Posted By Anonymous Wallace Tillman Gautier, Ms : 8:29 PM ET
Well, not to come down on the side of people who commit felonies here, but let's say you serve honorably in Congress for X number of years and earn your pension. After X number of years, you commit a felony and are convicted (in which case you obviously need to serve your time, rehabilitate, etc.). Does committing said crime mean that you didn't work hard for X number of years and thus earn your pension? Does it mean that your family should share in your punishment by going without the pension you earned? Is this just because it's a taxpayer-funded job, or can we extend this to other jobs, too? If you work in a steel mill for 35 years and then get convicted of stealing a car, is your pension erased? Just sayin' it's a slippery slope.
Posted By Anonymous Patrick, Santa Monica, CA : 8:41 PM ET
Aloha> Maybe a good start, but as I understand the bill does not cover those already convicted. We will have to wait until someone else goes astay it appears.
Posted By Anonymous Buzz Baer Holualoa HI : 9:25 PM ET
For me it is just another example of the central problem and that is the abandonment of one principle "government by the people and for the people" for another principle "government by the rich and for the rich".
Posted By Anonymous Ron Mellen, Jacksonville, Alabama : 10:07 PM ET
Typical politics, whatever party it happens in-she must want to protect herself or a close friend in the same businees as hers-making and wasting working class taxpayers money.
Posted By Anonymous M Carnathan,Houston TX : 10:13 PM ET
It is just plan wrong ! Period end of story ! No pensions, no pardons and no bleeding hearts for the "poor wives and kids".
When you play with the citizens of this country's hard earned tax dollars and steal from us you need to go down !
Posted By Anonymous Scot Ellis-Tacoma,Washington : 10:17 PM ET
Criminals protecting criminals. Is anyone surprised? Are that many of our lawmakers worried that they themselves will be in that situation some day? As for the argument of "protect their families" - tell the convicts spouses to do what the rest of America does. GET A JOB!
Posted By Anonymous Lance Cleveland, Charleston SC : 10:43 PM ET
Translation - everyone who voted for the watered-down version has something to hide.
Posted By Anonymous Bruce Templeton, Spring Creek, Nevada : 12:24 AM ET
Far be it from Congress to do the right thing... even in this arena they look for loopholes! 535 arrogant, selfish, corrupt individuals!
Posted By Anonymous Phil, Atlanta, GA : 6:51 AM ET
Well, here's a harsh fact. If I commit a crime, I will still receive my pension from my employer. I will also receive my social security benefits. Why shouldn't the members of Congress have the same rights?
Posted By Anonymous Bill C. , Decatur, IL : 9:26 AM ET
Make it retroactive. Yes, I can be mean, but they decided to commit the crime. They put themselves above the law, didn't think they would get caught. They also didn't think about their families.
Posted By Anonymous Robert Spartanburg, SC : 9:54 AM ET
Patrick in Santa Monica,
What slippery slope?!! It has already been happening with retired federal/military employees. The point is... why does Congress have a different set of standards?
Posted By Anonymous Carol Ann, New orleans : 10:21 AM ET
As usual, Congress finds a way to keep the money rolling in, right or wrong! These crooked b******* shouldn't be allowed to govern themselves nor vote themselves pay raises. It should be up to "the people"! Americans, it is way past time to take back America!!
Posted By Anonymous Monica Huntsville, Alabama : 10:44 AM ET
I guess I don't understand why politicians should be treated differently than anyone else. If a private citizen commits a felony, their family pays the price and must deal with lost wages etc if that person is jailed. I do feel sympathy for the families that face this type of a crisis, however, I do not think the husbands, wives, and children of politicians are more important than the average person. If an wife/mother without skills finds herself in a similar situation, she is often forced to apply for public assistance. Welfare reforms placed strict time limits on the public assistance payments. The maximum is 5 years and many states have adopted time limits of 2 or 3 years. These criminal politicians will taken care of for life..that is just not right!
Posted By Anonymous Mary, SLC, Utah : 12:50 PM ET
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