Monday, March 06, 2006

Congressional Pension Reform: Dead on Arrival?

Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, is sponsoring a bill denying pensions to former legislators, like Randy “Duke” Cunningham, convicted of bribery, conspiracy and other major ethics crimes. Cunningham was recently sentenced to serve eight-years and four-months after conviction on charges of soliciting and taking bribes:

Sen. Kerry pointed to the fact that lawmakers convicted of most crimes short of treason or espionage remain eligible for pensions. Cunningham's conviction will not deprive him of “a perk most Americans only dream of – a $40,000-a-year pension, courtesy of taxpayers.”

Another great reform idea that is long overdue, almost everyone would agree. Kerry, a LAWYER, has never been noted for sponsoring any legislation. In fact, lack of sponsorship was a major criticism of his feckless Senate record during his '2004 presidential campaign.

What is happening here? It is called posturing. Any bill that would penalize white collar crime (the kind lawyers most often commit) is Dead on Arrival in the U.S. Senate, currently infested with 53 lawyers, and Kerry knows it. Sponsorship may finally allow Kerry bragging rights in the next campaign, however.

Watch the bill be voted down in bipartisan fashion. Senate lawyers are a collegial bunch. Ahem.
Hat tip: Lone Ranger