Former Members of Congress, Convicted Of Crimes, Collect Pensions

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Former Congresssman Duke Cunningham is in prison, which is a good thing. What isn’t such a good thing is that he is collecting a $64,000-a-year pension while he is there, and the amount of the pension will increase as the cost of living goes up. Former Congressman Bob Ney, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges, will get $29,000 a year after he turns 60, and former Congressman Mark Foley, even if he is convicted of a crime, will get $32,000 a year.

Last May, the House of Representatives finally passed a bill that would take pensions away from members who are convicted of bribery or corruption. However, the bill is stalled, and is unlikely to pass before the end of the current session. At any rate, it is not retroactive, so Cunningham and Ney (and possibly Foley) can relax and put their pensions in the bank.

Another problem is that the bill covers only bribery and corruption and not other crimes. Fifteen other disgraced former members of Congress, including convicted Dan Rotstenkowski, collect pensions. Rotstenkowski collects over $100,000 a year, and would have done so even if the House bill had already been made law at the time of his conviction.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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