Rep. Ralph Norman Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Close Pension Loopholes for Corrupt Politicians
Washington, D.C., May 20, 2021 | Austin Livingston (803-833-0030)
On Wednesday, Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC-5) introduced bipartisan legislation to eliminate pension payments for Members of Congress who have been convicted of various criminal offenses.
Under current law, if a pension-eligible Member of Congress is convicted of certain crimes, he or she is still eligible to receive that pension through the appeals process until a "final conviction" is reached, which could drag on for years. (A "final conviction" is defined as a criminal conviction where all possible appeal options have either expired or been exhausted.)
The No CORRUPTION Act introduced by Rep. Norman would mandate that Members found guilty of these crimes immediately become ineligible to collect any pension payments earned while serving as a Member of Congress. This would apply upon initial conviction, not years down the road after reaching final conviction.
Original co-sponsors of this bill include Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY-12) and Rep. James Comer (R-KY-1), the Chairwoman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the House Oversight Committee. Additional original co-sponsors in the House are Rep Ro Khanna (D-CA-17) and Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC-7). A bipartisan companion bill, S.693, has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) with Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) as an original co-sponsor.
Rep. Norman released the following statement on Thursday: “Americans would be outraged if they knew about the various perks that former Members of Congress receive. Pension payments to those who have been convicted of a crime is yet another fitting example of 'The Swamp’ that needs to be fixed, and I'm happy to introduce bipartisan, bicameral legislation to do just that. It's time Members of Congress start acting like everyday Americans, not elitist politicians sheltered by their own rules.”
Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform added, “The No CORRUPTION Act is a simple and common sense measure that prevents the payment of pension benefits to former Members of Congress who have been convicted of crimes and are awaiting criminal sentencing. This legislation closes a door on potential abuse of taxpayer funds, and I am proud to support it.”
Ranking Member James Comer of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said, “The American people entrust Members of Congress to look out for their best interests but being convicted of a crime is a gross violation of that trust. Any Member of Congress convicted of a crime must forfeit any and all federal taxpayer-funded pensions as a result of their wrongful actions. American taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay retirement benefits to crooks—that is an abuse of their hard-earned dollars. I’m proud to cosponsor Congressman Norman’s No Corruption Act because it rights this wrong.”