Monday, January 31, 2005

25 Politicians illegally took salary for unexcused absences

Numerous Congress Members May Have Received Illegal Congressional Pay in 2003-2004

Many current or former Senators and Representatives appear to have taken illegal Congressional salary payments during the current Congress, prior to the October recess.

The chronically absent list is well-represented by candidates who ran for higher office, including those who ran for President or Vice President: Senators John Edwards (D-NC), Bob Graham (D-FL), John Kerry (D-MA), and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), and Congressmen Richard Gephardt (D-MO) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). Senate candidates Brad Carson (D-OK), Mac Collins (R-GA), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Pete Deutsch (D-FL), Joseph Hoeffel (D-PA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Chris John (D-LA), Denise Majette (D-GA), George Nethercutt (R-WA), and Patrick Toomey (R-PA), who have served in the House during 2003 – 2004, also had numerous unexcused absences. In 2003 now-Kentucky Governor and former Representative Ernie Fletcher (R) missed 27 session days.

Federal law requires Members of Congress to forgo Congressional pay for days missed due to campaign appearances or other unexcused absences. In June 2003 National Taxpayers Union wrote to each of the six Presidential candidates serving in Congress to ask whether they planned "to voluntarily follow this law during your campaign." None of the candidates replied.


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