TAXPAYER GROUP URGES CONGRESSMAN TO STEP DOWN BEFORE BECOMING ELIGIBLE FOR PENSION

For Immediate Release    Contact:  Shawn Rychling
November 13, 1997 (202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today urged Rep. Jay Kim (R-Calif.) to resign his seat before he becomes eligible to collect a congressional pension.  On August 11, Kim pleaded guilty to accepting and hiding more than $230,000 in illegal campaign contributions from corporate and foreign donors. 

“It’s bad enough that taxpayers must foot the bill for the ridiculously high pensions of former members of Congress,” said CCAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “But even more appalling is that former members who are convicted criminals receive their pensions while in prison.  It adds insult to injury and it’s unacceptable.”

Kim will be sentenced in January and faces three years in prison and up to $623,000 in fines.  If he waits until then to resign, Kim will have served five years in Congress, which is the minimum length of time required for pension eligibility.  Kim has given no indication that he plans to resign and has even talked of running for re-election next November.  If he completes five years, Kim stands to collect a yearly pension of about $14,000.

“Mr. Kim should do the right thing and step down,” Schatz stated.  “He has a record of voting to cut waste, fraud and abuse and would certainly agree that taxpayers should not pick up the pension of a convicted criminal.  Last year alone, convicted former members of Congress collected nearly $700,000 in pensions, while the average retiree on Social Security collected a little more than $8,000.  It’s a system in serious need of reform.”

  CCAGW is a 600,000 member lobbying organization dedicated to seeking enactment of legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency, mismanagement and abuse in the federal government.

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