Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), former federal judge who was impeached in 1988 for perjury and accepting bribes, on Monday asserted that members of Congress are not paid enough. He told the House Rules Committee:
Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution.
Reaction was immediate. From an article by Lachlan Markay in the Washington Free Beacon:
Aside from access to subsidized travel, gym memberships, haircuts, and the like, congressmen have a retirement plan which averages about $40,000 a year for retired members,” said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog.
The argument that Congress in underpaid was made last year by another corrupt Congressman, Jim Moran, of Virginia. Despite a string of Complaints to the House Ethics Committee and the Federal Election Commission by the National Legal and Policy Center alleging serious wrongdoing, Moran was able to retire after serving twelve terms, underscoring the problem of incumbency and the inadequacy of ethics enforcement in Congress.