Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Sen. Craig Follows the Money

Posted by Warren Peterson on October 12, 2007

So Senator Larry Craig(R) of Idaho now says he intends to remain in the Senate much to the embarrassment of his party and I suspect most Idaho voters. It just might be the $13,766.67 he collects every month in salary. Holding on until his term expires in January 2009 will net him about $206,000. Not bad considering if he retired in October as he originally promised he would have to squeak by on his Senate pension which by law cannot exceed 80% of $165,200 (Senator salary) or a mere $132,160 per year.


5 Responses to “Sen. Craig Follows the Money”

  1. Dick Derham said

    Warren: You say that Craig’s pension by law cannot exceed $132,000 per year. But that is different from saying it equals that amount.

    We hear gibes (maybe accurate) about Congressmen frequently about their retirement. I was under the impression their retirement was based on a contributory formula (like a 401(k)) in which case it is their own money. Or is it based on longevity? Or what?

    Your comment suggests that the amount of his pension is not a pre-set amount for everyone. Can you add some illumination?


  2. Warren Peterson said


    It is true that pensions are limited to no more than 80% of salary so Sen. Craig’s actual pension will be determined on years of service including his time in the House. The following web site has a good summary of the pay and benefits of legislators:

    You may also get to this web site by clicking on the blue high-lited “Senator Salary” in my post.

    Thank you for your questions. I hope I’ve answered them.


  3. Edwina Johnston said


    Why pick on Senator Craig? Is he guilty of something? Your blog seems to assume that he was guilty in the recent event. It is his word against that police officer. I think he was set up by the Dems. So just leave him alone.


  4. Dick Derham said

    Thanks Warren.

    For others wondering (and not wanting to follow to the site you identified):

    “how much they receive and how long depends on many factors, including age at retirement, length of service, and their choice of plans.”

    Members elected prior to 1984 are covered only under the Civil Service Retirement System. (They did not pay social security taxes and did not receive social security benefits for Congressional time). There are 290 retired members under that plan and they average $60,972 per year.

    Those elected in 1984 or later are now included in social securty (pay taxes and get benefits). There are 123 retired members receiving benefits under that combination and they average $35,952. (I presume that is just their pension, not social security.)

    Note that those under the newer system would not include long serving members, si benefits would be expected to be lower.

    The link you referenced also linked to an Urban Legends piece. The “legend” was that retired members get full pay for life — the urband legend response shot that down and gave further information consistent with the above.

  5. Lisa Bailey said

    It doesn’t bother me if the guy tapped his foot on purpose or not. We shouldn’t be asking him to step down for a mistemeanor anyway.

    What does bug me is hearing a lot of local Republicans getting down on Larry Craig, but in the next breath talk about how great and heartfelt Jane Hauge’s apology was for her DUI and inconsiderate slurs.

    She has atoned for her slip though, so I’m not going to hold that mistake against her. Even we fail against our own standards sometimes.

    I know what you’re thinking Warren, “Between our turkey and their turkey, let’s go with our turkey.” Maybe the people of Idaho want their turkey.


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