House Bill Would Strip Corrupt Elected Officials of Workers’ Compensation Benefits

A bill was recently introduced in the United States House of Representatives that aims to eliminate federal workers’ compensation benefits for elected officials convicted of any of the crimes enumerated in the bill.  The Protecting Taxpayers from Corruption Act, sponsored by Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL), was introduced on May 17, 2017.  The bill has been referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on House Administration.

The bill, if eventually passed into law, would “require the forfeiture of worker’s compensation benefits under such chapter by any individual who, while serving as a Member of Congress, converted campaign funds to personal use in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 or engaged in other offenses relating to the abuse of the public trust, and for other purposes.”  H.R. 2492.

Some of the crimes that would result in forfeiture of benefits include conversion of campaign funds for personal use; bribery of public officials and witnesses; false, fictitious or fraudulent claims; expenditures to influence voting; solicitation of political contributions; and intimidation to secure political contributions.

One impetus for the bill was the recent revelation in a divorce proceeding that former Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. receives over $100,000 annually in workers’ compensation benefits for bipolar disorder and depression notwithstanding his 2013 guilty plea on charges of misusing campaign funds on luxury goods, household items, vacations, and celebrity memorabilia.