YahooNews: (h/t E)
Former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, behind bars for bribery, can at least be consoled by the federal pension he'll continue to collect. Current or future lawmakers convicted of crimes may not be so lucky.
The Senate on Friday voted 87-0 to strip away the pensions of members of Congress convicted of white-collar crimes such as bribery, perjury and fraud. That could result in benefit losses of more than $100,000 a year.
"With this vote, we are preventing members of Congress who steal or cheat from receiving a lifelong pension that is paid for by the taxpayers," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., sponsor of the measure with Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo.
The pension measure was attached to a comprehensive ethics and lobbying bill that the Democratic-controlled Senate, trying to improve the image of Congress after the scandals of last year, took up as its first legislative act of the year.
The Democrats' return to power in both the House and Senate came after a campaign in which they stressed the "culture of corruption" under GOP rule.
[..]Kerry's office said that by law Congress cannot take away pensions retroactively and the so-called "Duke Cunningham Act" won't affect the benefits of Cunningham or Ney. It would also not touch the military benefits of a veteran such as Cunningham.
Under current law, pensions can be forfeited only if a lawmaker commits crimes such as treason or espionage.
[..]The NTU says there are roughly 20 former members convicted of serious crimes who qualify for pensions.
Hoyer says a similar act will come before the Senate next week.
Honestly, the name, the "Duke Cunningham Act", while snarkily delicious, is so limiting. Given all the exalted members of the 109th Congress that have left their seat in disgrace, shall we redub it the "Cunningham/Ney/Delay Act"?
Anyone else I'm forgetting?