Pension Penchant

Outgoing Congressmen retire in style.


Uncle Sam, it turns out, is a generous boss. He doesn't care if you leave for greener pastures (i.e., retire) or if you get fired for cause (i.e., defeated at the polls). Either way, your severance is hardly severe. For senators and representatives first elected before 1984, retirement pay is figured by taking 2.5 percent of the highest three-year salary average and multiplying it by the number of years served. Due to a series of "reforms," folks elected after 1984 can choose from a variety of retirement options that preclude easy pension estimates. Don't expect those golden parachutes to turn to lead anytime soon, though. If elected officials take full advantage of those options, notes Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union, their pensions will be even better than those enjoyed by the pre-1984 crowd. A person must serve five years before qualifying for retirement pay.

Rep. Tom Foley (D-Wash.) $123,804*

Rep. Bob Michel (R-Ill.) $110,538

Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Tex.) $96,462*

Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-Ill.) $96,462*

Sen. Don Riegle (D-Mich.) $81,078

Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.) $59,775

Sen. Dennis DeConcini (D-Ariz.) $55,669

Sen. John Danforth (R-Mo.) $53,289

Sen. Jim Sasser (D-Tenn.) $53,289*

Sen. David Boren (D-Okla.) $47,874

* defeated in fall elections

Source: National Taxpayers Union Foundation