This website uses cookies to improve your experience.

Please enable cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

Sign the petition

to call for a

Convention of States!

signatures

"An exclusive club": The perks members of Congress give to themselves

Published in Blog on June 01, 2020 by Convention Of States

29213 big

The following was written by OpentheBooks.com's Adam Andrzejewski and originally published at Forbes.com.

Once elected to Congress, members are in a rare and exclusive club. In the history of our nation, there have only been 10,363 House members and 1,307 U.S. Senators.

And that club certainly has its benefits.

Our new OpenTheBooks Oversight Report, "Congressional Membership Has Its Privilege — Salaries, Pensions, Travel, and Other Taxpayer-Funded Perks" quantifies and breaks down the lavish perks associated with serving in Congress.

Here are five major benefits each member of Congress receives:

SALARY: The House Speaker makes $223,500, Majority and Minority Leaders earn $193,400, and the President Pro Tempore makes $193,400. Regular members earn $174,000.

Outside income is restricted to eliminate conflicts-of-interest. However, we found significant loopholes in the ethics laws. Who knew that powerful members can be employed by federal contractors based in their districts?

For example, during a 13-year period, Vanderbilt University employed Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and paid him $250,000 in total salary (2005-2018). The university received $2.6 billion in federal contracts, grants, and direct payments from 2014-2018. The powerful congressman serves on the Budget Committee and on Oversight and Government Reform. Located in his district, Vanderbilt’s executives and employees are Cooper’s #1 campaign contributor ($135,261).

Other examples of members in both parties with significant conflicts are detailed in our previous piece at Forbes.

PENSION: As a federal employee, members of Congress can qualify for a pension in addition to Social Security. A member vests a taxpayer funded pension after five years of service and is eligible to receive a pension as early as 50. Full pensions are normally conferred at 62.

For each year of service, a member’s annual pension increases by about $2,000. So, after six years of service, the member has earned a pension of approximately $12,000, or 6.75% of salary ($174,000).

Federal pensions are legally classified as “private information” and not subject to Freedom of Information Act disclosures. So, taxpayers help fund and fully guarantee the payouts, but have no right to see who receives how much.

Furthermore, the congressional ethics laws are so weak that no member of Congress has ever been stripped of their pension because of a corruption conviction.

Click here to read about worker's compensation, travel, and other perks members of Congress gives themselves.

Is it any wonder that Congress is crawling with career politicians? As the COVID-19 crisis has so vividly illustrated, our elected officials care far more about reelection than about doing what's best for the American people.

Fortunately, the Founders gave us a solution in Article V of the Constitution. An Article V Convention of States can propose a constitutional amendments that mandate term limits, impose fiscal restraints, and limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government.

Sign the petition below to get involved!

Sign the petition to call for a Convention of States!

1,680,264 signatures

Petition your state legislator

Almost everyone knows that our federal government is on a dangerous course. The unsustainable debt combined with crushing regulations on states and businesses is a recipe for disaster.

What is less known is that the Founders gave state legislatures the power to act as a final check on abuses of power by Washington, DC. Article V of the U.S. Constitution authorizes the state legislatures to call a convention for proposing needed amendments to the Constitution. This process does not require the consent of the federal government in Washington, DC.

I support the Convention of States Project; a national effort to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution, restricted to proposing amendments that will impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit its power and jurisdiction, and impose term limits on its officials and members of Congress.

I want our state to be one of the necessary 34 states to pass a resolution calling for this kind of Article V Convention. You can find a copy of the model resolution and the Article V Pocket Guide (which explains the process and answers many questions) here: https://conventionofstates.com/handbook_pdf

I ask that you support the Convention of States Project and consider becoming a co-sponsor of the resolution. Please respond to my request by informing the national COS team of your position, or sending them any questions you may have:

info@conventionofstates.com or (540) 441-7227.

Thank you so much for your service to the people of our district.

Respectfully, [Your Name]

Msg & Data rates may apply. Msg frequency varies. Text HELP for Help or text STOP to end messages. View Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Provide your full address and we will deliver your petition directly to your state legislators now and again during the legislative sessions, Free of Charge. We Protect your privacy.

We welcome all US citizens to support our movement by signing the petition. To deliver the petition to your state legislators, you must enter your full address, which must be within one of the 50 states. For military personnel serving overseas, or for expatriates, enter your Voting Residence Address .

Please be sure to check the "Send me email updates" box, and include your phone number above.

How did you hear about us:

Click here to get involved!
Convention of states action

Are you sure you don't want emailed updates on our progress and local events? We respect your privacy, but we don't want you to feel left out!

Processing...