We pay scoundrels for leadership
Since his first race for office more than a quarter-century ago, Gov. Rick Perry has emphasized his roots as a rural farmer.
Yet Perry’s bank account no longer reflects those humble beginnings as his bottom line has soared in recent years, records show, thanks largely to a handful of real estate deals that critics allege were achieved through the presidential candidates’ political connections.
In just about every campaign Perry has run since 1989, allegations of his using his position for financial gain have come up. It’s an issue that Perry long ago accepted would linger as long as he remains in the public eye.
“I’ve been in politics long enough to know that this is just a part of doing business,” Perry told the Star-Telegram in 1998. “I know full well, as my wife knows, that our private lives, particularly on the financial side, becomes fair game.”
While much of the scrutiny has focused on land deals Perry made while a statewide official, “real estate investor” doesn’t properly capture all of his recent financial activity, just as “farmer” is too simple a description of Perry’s earlier years.
Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/08/28/3319523/perry-became-a-millionaire-while.html#ixzz1WdnDrMpw
Democrat Anthony Weiner’s immediate future may be uncertain, but thanks to congressional rules and the salaciousness of his scandal, things are already looking up for the disgraced New York congressman.
Upon his official resignation in the wake of a month long scandal involving Weiner’s risque online communications with multiple women, Weiner will still be eligible for many congressional perks, including access to a sizable pension fund. (House staff have yet to announce they’ve actually received his resignation letter.)
The conservative National Taxpayers Union (NTU) estimates the 46-year-old congressman’s pension to be worth $1.28 million if he retires at age 62 or $1.12 million at age 56. The group’s computations assume that Weiner started his pension when he served as a congressional staffer for Sen. Chuck Schumer.
In addition, NTU notes that members also participate in a Thrift Savings Plan, which allows lawmakers to rake in matching contributions from taxpayers. “NTU estimates he may have as much as $216,011.96 in accumulated TSP assets,” the organization reported.
It’s a rule that all former members, even those convicted of felonies, may receive their pension funds.
That’s right–and the plum pension will go out to all members of Congress, even those who opposed the payments in the first place.
Consider, for example, the case of former Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio, who was jailed on charges relating to his dealings with disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff. Ney had actually voted against permitting pension benefits to members of Congress convicted of a felony relating to their official duties, the St. Louis Dispatch reported in 2006.
That reform failed to pass. But as things turned out, Ney would soon be the beneficiary of Congress’ failure. Ney pled guilty in 2006 to to conspiracy and making false statements in connection to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. He served 17 months of his 30 month sentence–and today, he’s eligible to draw from his pension fund.
For the moment, Weiner’s employment future is unknown.
(Photo of Weiner at his resignation press conference Thursday: Richard Drew/AP)see the whole story at http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_theticket/20110617/el_yblog_theticket/weiner-sits-on-1-million-pension-offered-entourage-hustler-jobs