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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Al.com article Will Luther Strange get a Senate Pension?

Blogger Comments:  Folks, Luther Strange is washed up.  His involvement with the ex-Luv Gov and Sheriff Ana Franklin destroyed his reputation.  Sheriff Ana Franklin could not help but let anyone who would listen that she has ole Luther wrapped around her finger.  We submitted multiple ethics violations against Sheriff Franklin some to the Ethics Committee and others were hand delivered to Strange's office.  Each time something was sent into the State Strange or one of his employees gave the information to Sheriff Ana Franklin and she briefed the information in staff call.  We do not believe it was anybody other than Strange that provided Franklin with what had been reported to the state.  As a matter of fact, if you could believe Franklin she said Strange told her the whistleblower is just a crazy old delusional woman and that he was just filing the information.  Most likely the information went in file 13 also known as the waste bin.



Will Luther Strange get a Senate pension?


Senator Luther Strange loses to former judge Roy Moore in the Republican runoff for the Alabama U.S. Senate seat. (Joe Songer | jsonger@al.com).



This story is a part of Ask Alabama, where you ask the questions, you vote to decide which questions we answer, and then we investigate.  
This week we're answering a question submitted by Phil Harrison of Shelby County who asked: 
They say one of four things can happen to Alabama politicians when they get older: they're forced to resign in total disgrace because they decided to have an illicit affair; they forget about sexually assaulting teenagers in the 1980s; or they inexplicably lose an election to a national embarrassment paving the way for a Democrat to win a Senate seat for the first time in 25 years. 
But the fourth possibility is that you get to retire when you get old. At least that's the idea. Although, I'm pretty sure I'll be working straight through the impending apocalypse, and possibly living in an underpass.
But for now, we're all paying for politicians, most of whom are millionaires, to retire.
"I am amazed at the 'perks' given to our congressmen and Senators," said Phil Harrison of Shelby County.  "I worked 30 years in education to get a meager pension that I can barely live on even with social security. I want to see comparisons with ordinary people."
As we all know, being a teacher is one of the most important jobs in the country. But it's also historically a badly paid job. The average salary of a teacher in Alabama is a little less than $50,000. That's about $5,000 less than teachers in the rest of the country, according to Teaching Degree, a website that offers data and other information on education. Albeit, it's cheaper to live in Alabama than New York City, for example. The average pension for an Alabama teacher is a little over $20,000 a year, and only 39 percent of teachers qualify for that. Most wouldn't argue that these are dire rewards for the people entrusted with our children.
On the other hand, Luther Strange will probably be okay. He's 64 now and has, by all accounts, had a very successful career as an attorney and a lobbyist before he spent a little less than a year as a Senator. He also spent six years as Alabama's Attorney General before former governor Robert Bentley appointed him to fill the Senate seat vacated by the diminutive Jeff Sessions.   
Strange then lost to Moore in the GOP runoff, who ultimately lost to Doug Jones.
So it's no surprise that Harrison is a little upset with these political types, and wants to know if Strange will pick up a Senate pension. Senate pensions are generally paid for life. Paid for by the taxpayer. 
So let's get into the numbers. The average senator receives between $41,000 and $74,000 in pension money, according to a December 2017 report from the Congressional Research Service. It depends what retirement plan the senator in question had opted into when they retired. Unfortunately for Strange, the minimum amount of time required to draw a Senate pension is five years. The normal term for a senator is six years, so most will be eligible. The average salary for a senator is $174,000. Generally, the amount gained upon retirement is based on time served in the Senate.
For example, a member of Congress that served three terms (or one-term senator) who reaches retirement age would be eligible for an annual pension of around $17,588 for six years of work. That's generous, but not close to full pay. In fact, members of Congress are only able to make 80 percent of their final salary. According to the report, it would take 67 years of service to make it to that limit.
So there you have it. Sen. Strange is not eligible to collect a Senate pension. He is also not able to collect a pension from his time as Attorney General. It's because under the 1901 Alabama Constitution elected officials are not allowed to get a state pension.


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