United States Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) today introduced an amendment to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act aimed at eliminating the Congressional pensions of Members of Congress convicted of committing a felony while serving as elected officials. The amendment is a bipartisan proposal that expands existing law to cover 22 additional crimes, including insider trading.
Senator Blumenthal said, "Not one dime of taxpayer money should go to corrupt elected officials. Over the past 50 years, Members of Congress have been convicted of 16 separate felonies, so the need for this measure is considerable."
"American taxpayers should not be paying the pension benefits of convicted felons," said a spokesperson for Senator Kirk. "Expanding current law to add new public corruption offenses that would block Congressional pension benefits for Members who have failed to uphold the laws of the United States is a common sense measure that will save taxpayers money. Sen. Kirk is eager to continue working with Senator Blumenthal to deny corrupt public officials a taxpayer-funded golden parachute."
The measure would also revoke the Congressional pensions of former Members of Congress who are convicted of committing the covered public corruption crimes while serving as any elected official. The proposed amendment also includes two new provisions to ensure that Members of Congress convicted of STOCK Act violations will also see their pensions revoked.
Sens. Kirk and Blumenthal introduced the pension forfeiture bill to block pension benefits for elected officials who have broken the public's trust and to protect American taxpayers from yet another wasteful allocation of their hard earned tax dollars during times of fiscal hardship. According to the National Taxpayers Union, former Members of Congress convicted of public corruption are currently receiving more than $800,000 per year in taxpayer-funded pensions.