by Nick Bouterie
The major problem is the elitist and self-entitlement mentality of politicians and bureaucrats like former Republican Congressman and House Speaker Dennis Hastert and current Democrat Senator Chris Dodd below.
U.S. taxpayers are spending more than $40,000 per month on office space, staff, cell phones and a leased SUV for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, even as he works as a lobbyist for private corporations and foreign governments.
The payments are perfectly legal under a federal law that provides five years of benefits for former speakers — but only if Hastert never makes use of his government-funded perks in the course of his lobbying work. Ethics experts say that sort of separation is hard to maintain.
The federal government pays $6,300 per month to rent an office for Hastert and his staff in Yorkville, Ill. Hahn conceded that Hastert has no other office set aside for lobbying work in Illinois but said that the former speaker travels to Washington frequently for work.
In addition to the office, the government pays the salaries of three of Hastert’s assistants in his Illinois office — each more than $100,000 in 2008. Bryan Hardin, Hastert’s administrative assistant (the title often used by a chief of staff in a congressional office) earned $138,000.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) is using every last bit of clout he has accumulated during three decades in the Senate, calling in favors, winning sweetheart deals and steering hundreds of millions of dollars to his home state.
He’s one of the most politically vulnerable Democratic senators, and he’s not being shy about using his influence to insert into 2010 spending bills dozens of earmarks for senior citizen centers, low-income heating assistance, education programs, new buses and highway funds in Connecticut.
And his earmark largesse doesn’t include a $100 million provision he anonymously stuck into the Senate Democratic health care package, money that Dodd wants to go to the University of Connecticut’s medical center.
At first, Dodd didn’t want to claim credit for that one, but he ’fessed up when asked by The Associated Press.
“With a tough reelection battle next year, Sen. Dodd is trying to move anything in Washington that isn’t nailed down up to Connecticut,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a spending watchdog group.
Ellis’s group estimates that Dodd — either by himself or with other lawmakers — has secured 92 earmarks worth at least $121 million for Connecticut.
So we, the U.S. taxpayers, are sending a large portion of our hard-earned income to Washington, D.C. for these arrogant blowhards to buy re-election votes and then, when they retire/get voted out, we also pay for them to maintain a staff, with multiple $100k per year salaries.
Never mind the fact that a first year Congressman automatically starts with a salary of $170k per year, meanwhile, an O-5 Active duty officer in our military with 15 years of service makes about half that amount…$82,305.60 per year.
Maybe these pampered Congressmen should justify their salaries and continued pay raises, guaranteed retirement and perks to one of our military vets serving his 2nd tour in Iraq while trying to support a wife and kids during this recession and War on Terror.
They can’t. Remember, these people in Washington, D.C. get their salaries, perks and retirement paid for by our tax dollars. They are supposed to work for US.
Time to start holding every single one accountable, not just those of the opposite side of the aisle.