Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Who says crime doesn't pay?

In spite of the felony conviction and electoral defeat of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK), the Republican of longest tenure ever in the U.S. Senate, the 40-year veteran is nonetheless eligible for a $122,000 annual pension, complete with cost-of-living adjustments.

Remember Rep. Dan Rostenkowski (D-IL), the 35-year House veteran and former chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee who was convicted in the House Post Office scandal in 1994? He still takes home $126,000 a year.

Who knows what lurks in the hearts of evil men? But when you hear these cases you have to suspect that tenure and lack of competitive elections play a role in the downfall of such once-respected national leaders. Certainly they were not sent to the Senate so many decades ago with the arrogance, sense of entitlement and opportunity that led to their ultimate self-destruction.

After the inconveniences following their respective convictions, both gentlemen are able to ponder such questions for the rest of their lives in leisure -- on our dime.