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What an asshole:

Sen. John Cornyn has been supplementing his Senate salary for six years with pensions earned from his days as a Texas judge and attorney general - retirement payments that went undisclosed for several years.

Cornyn's most recent annual disclosure statement, filed last month, shows he collected $65,383 from three Texas pension plans in 2012. That's on top of his $174,000 Senate salary.

He drew $48,807 from the Judicial Retirement System of Texas, stemming from service on the Texas Supreme Court from 1990 to 1997, plus $7,645 from the Employees Retirement System of Texas, and $6,444 from the Texas County and District Retirement System.

He served as the state's attorney general from 1999 to 2002, when he was elected to the Senate. From 1984 to 1990, he served as a district court judge in Bexar County. - Dallas News, 6/18/13

Here's some more details:

The biggest of Cornyn’s pensions—$48,807— is from the Judicial Retirement System of Texas. He served on the state Supreme Court from 1991 to 1997.

He reported another $10,132 in retirement benefits last year from the Employees Retirement System of Texas—the pension fund for state elected officials and workers. Cornyn served as Texas attorney general from 1999 to 2002.

In a series of financial-disclosure amendments that he began filing last July, Cornyn disclosed that he had actually been collecting that $10,132 annual pension as far back as 2006. He had not listed it on his original disclosure reports from 2006 to 2010.

Cornyn also reported a $6,444 retirement distribution from the Texas County and District Retirement System. He was a state district judge from 1985 to 1989, according to his official bio, when the governor appointed him presiding judge for the Fourth Administrative Judicial Region of Texas, where he oversaw judicial administration for a 22-county region.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: Texas Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry speaks at a press conference with American and Israeli Jewish leaders in the Great Room at the W Hotel Union Square, where he attacked U.S. President Barack Obama's foreign policy, on September 20, 2011 in New York City.  Perry, who's leading polls for the GOP presidential nomination, condemned the Palestinian Authority's effort to seek recognition by the United Nations and blamed Obama's policy of
Cornyn, 61, is not the first or only prominent Texas Republican to draw both a public pension and a public salary. In December 2011, it was revealed that Texas Gov. Rick Perry was supplementing his $150,000 governor’s salary with a state pension of more than $92,000. - National Journal, 6/17/13
There's a term for this:

Pension expert Andrew G. Biggs, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, calls these and other arrangements one of the “odd incentives built into most public sector DB”—for defined benefit—“pensions.” Another consequence is double- (or, in Cornyn’s case, triple-) dipping. “Once you reach around age 55,” Biggs emails, “the amount you contribute each year [usually around 6% of pay] is greater than the additional pension benefits you earn in that year. [Cornyn was 50 when he first ran for Senate.] As a result, retirements spike at around that time since it doesn’t really make sense to work much longer. But often those retired employees will get another job, so in effect they’re claiming retirement from one job while working another. In some cases this may be morally dubious—for instance, a person will retire from one job and move into an almost identical job in the same office.”

While Biggs believes the double-dipping incentive is bad public policy, the massive disparity between public and private retirement packages is even more alarming. “[T]he benefits,” he emails, “are much more generous for government employees…and on average the retirement package for state government employees—meaning pensions and retiree health benefits—is around seven times [italics added] more generous than for similar workers employed in larger private-sector companies.” Stating the obvious, Biggs adds that this is “a pretty big deal given how stretched government budgets are.”

Lavish retirement packages would seem a more serious political problem for budget-cutting Republicans than for free-spending Democrats, who, after all, are usually out and proud about bringing home the bacon. “You would think it would be off-brand,” Tanene Allison, communications director of the Texas Democratic Party, says about Cornyn’s good fortune. “But it seems to be par for the course for Republican leaders in Texas, despite their rhetoric about being fiscally conservative. How ironic. Democrats have not made cutting government spending part of their main philosophy.”

Cornyn, who is hardly a Tea Party favorite, will be under further pressure to tack to the right, while enjoying the fruits of state-sponsored socialism, by his flashy junior colleague Ted Cruz—who is, for the moment anyway, a Tea Party hero.

“Real people can agree that there is something messed up with Washington—Washington does not live in the real world,” says Scottie Nell Hughes, news director of the Tea Party News Network. “In Cornyn’s case, what he’s getting is completely legal and he’s earned it. Unfortunately, until now, the people haven’t paid attention to these laws that have passed…. But what do you want Cornyn to do? Give back the money?” - The Daily Beast, 6/19/13

Ok, so you know how there's been plenty of talk about making Texas competitive?  Lets get that started for next year.  Of course I'll be interested in the Texas Governors race but the Senate race is worth watching.  If anyone has any news on the Texas Senate race or info about potential Democrats, please let me know in the comments.

Originally posted to pdc on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by TexKos-Messing with Texas with Nothing but Love for Texans.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Notice the use of the passive voice in this (6+ / 0-)


    Unfortunately, until now, the people haven’t paid attention to these laws that have passed
    That's part of the problem, not that the people haven't noticed, but that the press reporting, even now, carries forward the pretense that laws are somehow self-generating and self-enforcing -- magical, like the free market. What our legislators have really mastered is the art of dissembling, of pretending to have no power, no influence, no role in anything.
    If conflicts of interest are not addressed in the law, it's because legislators left them out. When scofflaws become legislators, they generate laws that either don't work, or work to their advantage.

    Especially on the national level, legislators have put much effort into restricting public access to information to the point where they do nothing just so the public won't know what they are up to. Nevertheless, if their activities as public officials are minimal, their private endeavors will have to be looked into. The thirst for information, once created, is not easy to slack.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 05:22:54 AM PDT

  •  The bullshit at night is big and bright, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Tinfoil Hat, hnichols, nokkonwud

    deep in the deeply hypocritical heart of Texas politics.

    "Triple-dippin' Cornyn". Big government has been so good to him while he waits to reap in millions in the private sector when he retires from the Senate. Millions he will undoubtedly supplement with those pensions plus the one from the US Senate plus, of course, his Social Security and Medicare.

    No wonder these people don't understand what's really going on with average Americans.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:02:03 AM PDT

    •  Yep, time to put an end to double- ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and triple-dipping NOW!  Oh, wait.  Millions of union workers do the same thing.  Now what?

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 11:52:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Now nothing. Union workers are generally not (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nokkonwud, Neuroptimalian

        running for office to screw over their comrades. The reason why it's disgusting for Cornyn to do it is because of his hypocrisy, not because he's collecting several pensions. He's entitled to those pensions. What he's not entitled to do is to receive them and then say he's opposed to other people doing it.

        I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

        by commonmass on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 12:19:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The problem here is not the fact... (7+ / 0-)

    ...that Cornyn took this money. It's his failure to disclose. He may have felt he didn't have to (given the deep red Texas makeup of years past), but now, it could be poison for his re-election chances. I sure hope we have someone really good (example: Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis, among others) who can really put Cornyn on the defensive on this and other issues.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Gandhi

    by alaprst on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:06:53 AM PDT

  •  One explanation for this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on average the retirement package for state government employees—meaning pensions and retiree health benefits—is around seven times [italics added] more generous than for similar workers employed in larger private-sector companies
    Government jobs pay less than similar private sector jobs. Many people over the years have opted for government jobs in part because of the more generous pensions down the road.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:30:34 AM PDT

    •  The pension multiplier is what is at issue here (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      Cornyn by my figures had 14 total years of service. To get to 65K annually his multiplier had to be in the neighborhood of 4%.  (DB pensions arrive at a salary replacement figure of x% of salary per year of service against a high 5 salary system.)

      The unanswered quuestion is what was his average judicial salary? That tells us how much income has been replaced.

    •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, NapaJulie

      I had a discussion with a friend about this very topic. As a state employee I contributed about 20-25% of my compensation to my retirement throughout my career. (12% for retirement and 13% for SS). My pension coordinates down at SS age to reflect my SS income.

      My relatives tend to be angry because I was able to retire and take my pension at 50. (As a correctional employee I had an enhanced retirement package.) My pension represents a significant amount of deferred compensation income that I put away. One of the things that I usually say is that correctional workers have shortened lifespans on average. Second I worked with the dangerous mentally ill and sex offenders throughout my state career.  25 years is a career in mental health.

      From a public policy standpoint it isn't a bad thing for employees to continue working after retirement from public service. The money that is taken from their pension plans enters the economy, is taxed and in general creates jobs.

  •  What is fine for me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is not for thee.

  •  I hate government except if I can doulble dip and (0+ / 0-)

    cover it up so I don't look like a free loader:  John Cornyn.

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