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U.S. News
Expelled Traficant to retain annual pension of $37,120

Saturday, July 27, 2002

By Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- Ohio Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. has been expelled from Congress and may be headed to prison, but that doesn't mean he must give up his congressional pension.

Traficant, who lost his House seat Wednesday night and faces sentencing on bribery and corruption charges Tuesday, is entitled to receive $37,120 a year, according to the National Taxpayers Union, or NTU, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

NTU President John Berthoud questioned why the federal government would provide such a payout to the ex-congressman, which could total as much as $1.2 million over the lifetime of the Youngstown Democrat.

"Congress and the courts can pass judgment on lawmakers like Jim Traficant, but taxpayers still don't get the fiscal justice they deserve," Berthoud said.

"Despite the major offenses involved in this case, only conviction of a 'high crime' like treason deprives members of Congress of their pensions."

During the 104th Congress, lawmakers rejected a proposal to end tax-subsidized pensions for members convicted of a felony. But Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., has introduced legislation which would declare that any expelled lawmaker could not earn a federal pension based on time served in Congress.

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