Friday, November 20, 2009

Cut Off Congressional Cheats


William Jefferson, Democratic Congressman from Louisiana, was found with $85,000 cold-hard cash in his freezer.  In an August trial the government charged him with bribery, and  was found guilty by a jury of his peers.  On November 13th he was sentenced to 13 years in prison, the longest stint ever for a Congressman who committed this crime.  The court also ordered him to repay the $470,000 he was estimated to have received in bribe money.  I'm glad he got the sentence and repay that he got, although I think that our elected officials should be held to a higher standard by fact that they control so much of taxpayers money, and that maybe he should have  another 5 years tacked on to his sentence just for good measure.
What is appalling is that under the rules Mr. Jefferson will still be allowed to collect his congressional pension and benefits, estimated to be about $60,000, after having served.  I suspect that these kinds of rules apply not only to national offices but to state and local governments as well.  It is shocking to think that we should continue to pay retirement for people who have violated the public trust, at any level.  It's just another example of wasteful government spending.
How hard would it be to change the laws to say that once convicted of a certain crime, our leaders should forfeit any further compensation?  What lawmakers would vote against a change in these rules?  A few, I suspect, for reasons that I cannot imagine.  I say, commit the crime, do the time, but don't expect anything more.

2 comments:

  1. Look how long we are still waiting for the investigation of Charles Rangel! Congress is so corrupt it is insane. Donkeys and elephants alike have become corrupt. It's the combination of power and money, I think, which makes holding office so irresistible. We really do need term limits so we can get fresh eyes and ideas in D.C. And, I agree that there should be no benefits paid if any member of Congress is convicted of a crime.

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  2. You're right, I should have included Rangel in the post. Corrupt, money-grabber.

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