Taxpayer May Have to Support John Boehner For Awhile Yet

John Boehner gets to keep a publicly funded office even when he goes into the private sector.

Did you think John Boehner was no longer being bankrolled by the taxpayer with his resignation from congress this weekend? Think again.

Kate Ackley writes in Roll Call:

The former House speaker, whose resignation from Congress became effective over the weekend, is taking advantage of little-known perks and privileges taxpayers provide by law to those vacating the chamber’s highest office. Boehner is setting up a government-funded office that may have as many as three aides with salaries of more than $100,000 each.

The Ohio Republican can maintain the outpost for up to five years, with taxpayers footing the bill for office operations, franked mail and personnel costs. Funding for former speakers has been in place since 1970, just before John W. McCormack became the first speaker to retire to private life.

Jennifer Hing, communications director for the House Appropriations Committee, said it was “too early to speculate” whether an upcoming omnibus spending bill will include a funding request for Boehner’s post-speakership office.

“No statutory restrictions exist on the cost, type, or location of a former Speaker’s office,” wrote Matthew E. Glassman in a Congressional Research Service report from May. Boehner could pay his three aides salaries of up to $158,000, $133,000 and $116,000 for 2015, Glassman noted.

Boehner will staff his ex-speaker’s office with Amy Lozupone, director of administrative operations in his speaker’s operation, according to a Boehner spokeswoman speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters. Lozupone has worked for Boehner since 2001. The spokeswoman also confirmed the Longworth location and said it wasn’t clear whether Boehner would make additional staff appointments.

The taxpayer-funded office cannot be used for political purposes. Instead, it is “to be used solely for the administration and conclusion of matters relating to service as a Representative and Speaker of the House,” Glassman’s CRS report said.

Former Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., spent about $1.5 million running his post-speaker office between 2008 and 2012.

Boehner, like any other former speaker, must forfeit the office and its expenses should he take a federally appointed or elective office, such as a Cabinet post or ambassadorship.

He would not need to ditch the digs if he headed to the private sector.

[See also, “The Boehner Conflict Was about Goals and Values, not Tactics.”]

Is it any wonder that John Boehner wanted to end sequestration and increase spending? There is no reason he would fight to end his own royal privileges.