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House bill would eliminate comp benefits for convicted legislators

House bill would eliminate comp benefits for convicted legislators

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., on Wednesday introduced legislation that would eliminate workers compensation for members of Congress who have been convicted of a crime related to their public office.

According to recent media reports, the bill is a response to a situation involving former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill. Mr. Jackson and his wife, Sandi, a former Chicago alderman, pleaded guilty and served prison time for stealing campaign funds between 2005 and 2013. Mr. Jackson’s current divorce proceeding revealed that he has collected $124,052 annually in workers comp and Social Security disability insurance benefits.

The Protecting Taxpayers from Corruption Act would prevent abuse of workers comp and “create more transparency within Congress,” according to a statement from the office of Rep. Davis, who is a member of the House of Representatives’ House Administration committee. 

In addition, the bill would require the chief administrative officer to submit an annual report to the Committee on House Administration with a list of everyone who had received workers comp benefits, according a summary of the bill. 

“It’s unfortunate when anyone games the system, but it’s especially disappointing when it’s done by a public official who swore to defend the Constitution and faithfully execute the office he or she holds,” Rep. Davis said in the statement. “I believe all members of Congress should be held to a higher standard and if you’re convicted of a crime related to your job as a member of Congress, you should not be eligible for benefits that are in place to help honest, working Americans. Members of Congress choose to run for office and willingly ask voters to renew their term. This bill protects taxpayers and creates more transparency within Congress.”

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