Congressman Farenthold Introduces “Contempt Act” to Prohibit Taxpayer-Funded Salaries for Government Officials Found in Contempt of Congress
by Blake Farenthold on April 17, 2014 at 1:08 PM
Last week I officially introduced H.R. 4447, the “Contempt Act.” H.R. 4447 would simply prohibit any federal employee who is found in contempt of Congress from receiving his or her salary. More specifically, the bill would officially direct the employer of any officer or employee of the federal government who is in contempt of Congress to not pay compensation to the officer or employee while he or she remains in contempt.
I formally introduced H.R. 4447 after alluding to the introduction of the bill in remarks before the House Judiciary Committee and Attorney General Eric Holder last week. During the hearing, I said “This week, I will be introducing legislation that would prevent federal employees who are held in contempt of Congress or who fail to fully comply with a Congressional subpoena from receiving their taxpayer-funded paycheck. If he [Holder] continues to refuse to resign, my bill would at least prevent hardworking American taxpayers from paying his salary.”
In 2012, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting operation – despite this fact, he is still receiving his paycheck courtesy of American taxpayers.
In the next few weeks, the House is set to hold former IRS department head Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her role in the IRS’ political targeting of conservative groups. While Ms. Lerner has since retired from the IRS, my bill will at least prevent current and future federal employees, like Attorney General Holder, from continuing to collect their taxpayer-paid salaries while held in contempt of Congress.
The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior. If the average American failed to do his or her job, he or she would hardly be rewarded. High-ranking government officials should be treated no differently than everyone else.