Rep. Zach Nunn (R-IA) on Monday introduced legislation aimed at barring lawmakers who’ve been expelled from Congress from receiving Congressional pensions.
Nunn announced the Congressional Pension Accountability Act during a news conference Monday in Des Moines.
“A pension is earned for honorable service,” Nunn told reporters. “When you’re removed from office…you should not be able to continue to cash in on the American taxpayer’s dime.”
Nunn was one of 105 House Republicans who joined with 206 Democrats on Friday in voting to expel Rep. George Santos (R-NY). The vote followed a scathing Ethics Committee report that concluded that the embattled freshman lawmaker “blatantly stole from his campaign. He deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were in fact payments for his personal benefit.”
The new bill, if passed, would have no impact on Santos, who is not eligible for a pension regardless because he served less than one year in Congress. Eligibility starts after a lawmaker has served at least five years, though prior federal service can count toward that pension.
But Nunn said he wants to create a “clear road map” for future cases.
Out of the more than 11,000 Americans who have served in the House of Representatives, only five have been expelled by their colleagues before Santos. Three of those were ousted for conduct deemed disloyal to the country before or during the Civil War.
Since 1980, two Representatives have been expelled. Rep. Michael “Ozzie” Myers who was convicted as part of the FBI investigation “ABSCAM”—a sting operation that involved taking bribes from a fake Arab sheikh. And Rep. James Traficant (D-OH) was expelled after being convicted of bribery and racketeering.
Meanwhile, Santos’ troubles don’t end on Capitol Hill. He is facing a September 9, 2024 trial date for 23 separate felony counts, including wire fraud, identity theft, credit card theft, money laundering and falsely reporting to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) that he had loaned his campaign $500,000; in fact, he hadn’t given anything while maintaining less than $8,000 in the bank.
Santos has pleaded not guilty to all counts.