DES MOINES — Iowa Congressman Zach Nunn is co-sponsoring a bill that would make members of the U.S. House and Senate who are expelled ineligible for a congressional pension.
“No one should be serving in congress, be excommunicated and removed from congress and still be able to draw on a pension,” Nunn said Monday during a news conference in his Des Moines office.
Former New York Congressman George Santos, who was expelled last week, will not be getting a pension because he hadn’t served long enough to be eligible for one, but Nunn said two House members who were expelled in 1980 and 2002 were able to get pension checks from the government. “Going forward I think it’s very important that we have a clear roadmap for individuals who violate the public trust and are removed from congress, that they can’t access any of those benefits,” Nunn said.
Nunn, a Republican from Bondurant, is co-sponsoring the legislation with Democrats from Minnesota and New Hampshire and a Republican congressman from New York. Nunn said members of the military are ineligible for benefits if they’re dishonorably discharged. “We absolutely should be holding our members of congress to the same standard,” Nunn said, “that they don’t get to walk away with money in their pocket from the taxpayer after they’ve been fired from their job.”
Nunn and the other three Republicans from Iowa who serve in the U.S. House voted late last week to remove Santos from office. Some House Republicans opposed the move, saying it sets a dangerous precedent because Santos has been charged, but not yet convicted of a crime. Nunn told reporters a House Ethics Committee report on Santos was damning evidence that Santos should be expelled.
“He stole from the voters,” Nunn said. “He embezzled from the voters and it was repeatedly improved in the ethics committee that he was well aware of it and admitted to doing as much.”
Santos is accused of using campaign funds for personal expenses, like Botox treatments, and racking up charges on credit cards that were used to make donations to his campaign.