Washington, D.C. (WorkersCompensation.com) - A bill introduced today in Congress by Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) would strip federal workers’ compensation from former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., as well as any other elected official convicted of the 29 crimes listed.
The bill, entitled the Protecting Taxpayers from Corruption Act, would not only prevent former congressmen from collecting workers’ compensation, but also provide Congress with an annual list of Congressmen who have applied for workers’ compensation benefits.
The bill comes, in part, after it was revealed that Jackson received nearly $100,000 in annual workers’ compensation benefits for an undisclosed job-related injury. The revelations came out in divorce proceedings between Jackson and his wife, Sandi, who both pleaded guilty in 2013 of misusing campaign funds.
“It’s unfortunate when anyone games the system, but it’s especially disappointing when it’s done by a public official who swore to defend the Constitution and faithfully execute the office he or she holds,” Davis said in a press release. “I believe all members of Congress should be held to a higher standard and if you’re convicted of a crime related to your job as a member of Congress, you should not be eligible for benefits that are in place to help honest, working Americans. Members of Congress choose to run for office and willingly ask voters to renew their term. This bill protects taxpayers and creates more transparency within Congress.”
The bill is similar to a previous one that made Congressmen ineligible to hold office if they are convicted of crimes in office. That list includes misuse of campaign funds, bribery, conspiracy to defraud the government, tax evasion and racketeering, among others.
The bill would also require that a list of Congressmen who have applied for workers’ compensation benefits would be provided annually. That list would likely only be visible to the Chief Administration Officer of Congress, said Ashley Phelps, spokeswoman for Davis.
“This adds another level of transparency, we believe,” Phelps told WorkersCompensation.com. “We wouldn’t know if anyone is receiving workers’ compensation benefits without this information. The only reason we know about Jesse Jackson’s workers’ compensation benefits is because it came out in a divorce proceeding.”
Jackson’s attorney, Brendan Hammer, told WorkersCompensation.com that his and his client’s only comment on the matter would be, “Mr. Jackson’s health and disability related benefits are a private matter that he will address only with his physicians and the departments of government that grant and renew those benefits.”
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