The U.S. Senate today unanimously approved a measure that would deny federal pension benefits to lawmakers convicted of accepting bribes. Under current law, a lawmaker can only lose benefits if convicted of treason or espionage.
The measure, sponsored by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., would expand the universe of pension-ending infractions to include bribery, perjury and conspiracy to defraud the United States. It is part of a broader congressional ethics reform bill that the Senate is expected to vote on next week.
The measure was made in response to the fact that former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., is eligible for a congressional pension despite serving eight years in prison after pleading guilty in 2005 to charges that he accepted $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors, according to a statement from Mr. Kerry's office.