cash Government Integrity - Pensions for Criminal Officials

''I believe that no man who holds a leader's position should ever accept favors from either side.
He is then committed to show favors. A leader must stand alone.'' Mother Jones, U.S. Labor Organizer

New Orleans corruption cases multiply USA Today October 4, 2007

A stark news headline caught your eye, "Pensions for convicted lawmakers draw watchdogs' ire", Griffin, Drew and Johnston, Kathleen, CNN January 6, 2007.

"According to the Taxpayers Union research, 20 lawmakers over the last 25 years have been found guilty of serious crimes while in office. All 20 received, or are still receiving, congressional retirement benefits." Cooper, Anderson. CNN

"Convicted congressmen collect public pensions". Jan 03, 2007.

Alaska: The Senator and the Oil Man

question mark Examine the issue of pensions for convicted lawmakers and government officials.

Do you believe public officials, who have been convicted of crimes, should still get their government pension?


Are just federal officials benefiting? Are convicted criminal state and local officials also collecting pensions?


Name an official in your state that has been convicted of corruption. Is that person collecting a pension?


Should all felony convictions cause pension loss or only white collar crimes they commit in office: like bribery, graft, taking kickbacks, tax evasion or embezzlement?

quill and ink potAction:

Write a letter regarding this issue to one of the individuals that represent you in the U.S. Congress. Tell them how you feel about this issue and what you believe should be done about it. Endeavor to cite specific examples. Alternatively, you can write to someone who represents you at the state or local level.

Your challenges include: identifying who represents you in government, finding their office address, using the correct salutation including title, as well as, following appropriate business letter writing format.

*Many elected officials have an email form/link in their web site. It is reasonable to use this, in lieu of paper and postage, but format and style expectations remain the same. Write the letter in word processing. Edit it as needed. Then copy .. paste it into the email form. Some web forms have a maximum character limit to emails. If that is the case, write the formal letter. Then drop the address heading and date from the email.


Most legislators have their own web site use your online research skills to find it.

Coalition Targets Convicted Lawmakers Don't water down public corruption bill
Loss of Federal Pension

THOMAS - legislative information from the Library of Congress

Project on Government Oversight
How to track Federal Legislation using THOMAS Reality Check: Taxpayers To Pay Pensions Of Convicted Lawmakers
Budget of the United States Government Citizens Against Government Waste
Congresspedia is the official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.
Sunlight Foundation

Government Integrity - The Power of facts from the Web


The Yes Men - A satirical approach to dealing with a problem/issue.
Examples: WTO/GATT
| Dow- Union Carbide | Ice Age Petition

Create a satirical skit or video regarding this issue.

Tech Tip: Working in a group or in two different places like the library & home? You do not have to be physically together to work together.
gold starWatch Google Docs video TAI - How could you use free, Google Docs to do a project? How would this facilitate group projects?

"The citizen can bring our political and governmental institutions back to life,
make them responsive and accountable, and keep them honest. No one else can.
" John Gardner

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developed by Cynthia J. O'Hora Released to public domain and Posted 1/2007