* From a press release…
Bobby Schilling (R-Colona) is challenging incumbent Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-East Moline) to follow through on her promise to give up 10 percent of her pay by donating $34,800 to a veterans charity of her choice.
“Promises made should be promises kept,” Schilling said. “When I ran for Congress, I promised to reject the congressional pension and health care plans, vote against all pay raises for legislators, and lead by example—these are promises I kept. Congresswoman Bustos promised to reject 10 percent of her pay—that amounts to $34,800—but she has failed to do that. Today I am challenging Congresswoman Bustos to do the right thing and donate that $34,800 to a veterans charity of her choice. Not only would that be a worthy cause and an appropriate use of the money, but it might also help Congresswoman Bustos start to repair her relationship with veterans after she voted to cut $6 billion to benefits for disabled veterans and their families last year.”
* In September of 2012, Bustos was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune editorial board and pushed an idea to cut congressional pay by 10 percent. An edit board member pressed her on whether she’d give up 10 percent of her pay voluntarily if her bill didn’t pass…
Cheri Bustos: “And I’m saying, though, this is a vote. That every member of Congress takes a 10 percent pay cut, and there’s a pay freeze until we—we get this under…”
Interviewer: “I’m sorry, I’m confused. Are you—if you’re elected—are you saying to whoever the HR department is—”keep 10 percent of my pay.” Are you—it’s yes or no. Are you going to voluntarily give up ten percent of your salary?”
Cheri Bustos: “I’m saying that—yes. And I would—I would take a—I would propose that there is a vote to cut 10 percent of the pay for every member of Congress.”
Interviewer: “But you would do it regardless?”
Cheri Bustos: “I’m sorry?”
Interviewer: “You would do it regardless of how the vote turns out?”
Cheri Bustos: “Yes.”
* Listen for yourself…
* Bustos never did have ten percent of her pay deducted from her salary. And check out her campaign’s lame response…
Bustos’ campaign manager, Jeremy Jansen, said she “misspoke,” adding that Wednesday was the first time he heard the recording.
“Cheri Bustos has been a leader in fighting for more Congressional accountability, which is why she voted for the No Budget, No Pay Act, which forced members like herself to put skin in the game and prevented them from collecting any pay until they did their jobs and passed a budget,” Jansen wrote in an email. “Cheri misspoke in the midst of a discussion regarding budget proposals similar to this, but to that end supports legislation that would cut lawmakers’ pay 10 percent and looks forward to it coming up for a vote.”
Sorry, but that ain’t gonna fly.
* Bustos beat Schilling last time around mainly by claiming that Schilling had become “too DC” during his first term. But Schilling refused to accept congressional health insurance and pension benefits during his one and only term, so he can now turn this very issue back on Bustos in a potentially game-changing maneuver.
I cannot believe nobody took note of this promise at the time and made sure Bustos followed through. Big mistake. She probably needs to make that donation.