On January 23, 2007, the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to deny retirement pensions to any member of Congress "convicted of any of certain offenses," including fraud, bribery and perjury. Prior to the adoption of HR 476, federal lawmakers could only be stripped of their benefits upon conviction for treason or espionage. The legislation passed by a vote of 431-0 and added to that list the crimes of: bribery, acting as a foreign agent, breaking restrictions on becoming a lobbyist, committing perjury, convincing another person to commit perjury, and conspiracy to commit any of the afforementioned crimes. The unanimous vote followed a year in which several bribery and influence-peddling scandals made US headlines. Most notably, former US Representative Tom DeLay was forced to resign and former US Representative Bob Ney was sentenced to prison for his connections to lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Despite unanimous adoption by the House, the bill ultimately failed to pass the US Senate and never became law.
Learn more about the laws governing corruption and the pensions from JURIST archives.