Four top leaders representing both major political parties on Capitol Hill could walk away with millions of dollars in tax-funded pension benefits by retiring, according to OpenTheBooks.com.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) would be eligible for an annual tax-funded pension of $146,686 (including $44,184 in Social Security.
In addition, since Schumer was first elected to Congress in 1981, taxpayers have contributed $278,035 into his federal Thrift Savings Plan, which, if invested in an S&P index fund, would be worth more than $1.4 million as of Dec. 31, 2019.
Unlike Schumer and other top congressional leaders, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has only been in Congress since 2007, so hes had less time to accumulate pension assets.
OpenTheBooks.com calculates that taxpayers have contributed $118,245 to McCarthys federal Thrift Savings Plan, which if invested in an S&P indexed fund would be worth $243,636. McCarthy, 55, would also be eligible for a $28,000 annual pension, plus Social Security, if he retired at age 62.
The Schumer and McCarthy calculations were done at the request of The Epoch Times. The calculations are based on published provisions of federal retirement programs for Congress, as well as individual senators and representatives annual financial disclosures.
OpenTheBooks.com advocates making government spending at all levels available for citizen review on the Internet. The groups goal is to see “every dime, online, in real time.”
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would receive an annual tax-paid pension of $153,967, according to OpenTheBooks.com calculations published last month.
“In addition, Pelosi could cash out an estimated $1 million lump sum through her federal savings account, and thats just the portion of the account that was taxpayer-funded,” OpenTheBooks.com reported.
“Our auditors calculated that [Pelosi] earned $5.7 million in salary to date during her 34-year congressional career. Pelosi salary ranged from $77,400 (1987) to todays $223,500, as the most highly compensated member of Congress,” the non-profit continued.
“Taxpayers also invested $282,965 into Pelosis federal Thrift Savings Plan, an amount that equals five percent of salary as long as members also contribute five percent of earnings. We estimate that those taxpayer dollars grew to $1.03 million if invested in an S&P 500 index fund, as of Dec. 31, 2019.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been in Congress since 1985 and earned $5.5 million in salary, ranging from $75,100 to todays $193,400, as the second highest-paid member of Congress behind Pelosi.
“Taxpayers also invested $273,700 into McConnells federal Thrift Savings Plans. We estimate that the taxpayer dollars grew to $1.1 million if invested in an S&P index fund (as of Dec. 31, 2019),” OpenTheBooks.com said.
As a result, McConnell would be able to cash out an estimated $1.1 million as a one-time lump sum or draw on it over time as he chooses.
OpenTheBooks.com did not calculate McConnells pension, but noted researchers at the National Taxpayers Union estimate the Kentucky Republican would be eligible for a total package of $142,902, including $46,164 in Social Security benefits.
The lucrative retirement packages available to the top four leaders in Congress are not exceptions to the rule. OpenTheBooks.com calculated, for example, that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), currently the longest-serving member of Congress, could retire with an annual pension of $167,040.
All members of Congress could opt-out of their federal pensions, as then-Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) did in 1994. But an obscure provision of a 2004 appropriations bill ended that option for members of the House of Representatives.