In 2007, the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (P.L. 110-81) was passed on a bipartisan basis and signed into law by President George W. Bush. This important ethics reform law bars public officials who are convicted of bribery, perjury, conspiracy
or other related crimes from collecting their taxpayer-funded pensions.
However, as recent convictions have demonstrated, members have found a loophole that allows them to continue to receive their pensions even following a conviction. This loophole is the result of ambiguity in existing law, which requires pensions to be forfeited
only when a former member of Congress has exhausted their appeals in full. This means that even after a lawful conviction for corruption, members can go on to receive their taxpayer-funded pensions for years by filing one appeal after another.
The No Pensions for Corrupt Politicians Act of 2017 (H.R. 4314) would close this loophole. It would update current law to immediately halt any federal pension payment to a former member of Congress following a lawful conviction. If their conviction is overturned
on appeal, the member would continue to receive their pension as normal and would also be eligible to receive any retroactive payments for which they would have been eligible.
Former members of Congress who are convicted of corruption should not receive their taxpayer-funded pensions as they drag out the appeals process. This commonsense legislation would rightly prohibit former members from receiving their pension payments after
a conviction, reinstating such payments only in the case of a successful appeal. To learn more about this bill or to be added as a cosponsor, please contact Robert Simpson (firstname.lastname@example.org).