The National Taxpayers Union wants former Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry, D-Mass., to return $91,000 in Senate pay for days he missed votes.
Citing an obscure law, NTU, a taxpayers' watchdog organization, said Kerry's pay should be docked for the 146 days of Senate votes missed between January 2003 and October 2004 while he was campaigning for president. While Kerry's absentees are above the normal level, they are typical of lawmakers running for elections. It is not unusual for lawmakers in both the House and Senate to miss votes.
Kerry tops a list of 25 senators and congressmen of both parties, most of whom were running for higher office or in tough re-election bids, listed as having missed more than 10 voting days in Congress during that time, the Boston Herald said Friday.
"Taxpayers covered the bill for several members of Congress who were trolling for votes at the polls instead of casting votes in Washington," NTU President John Berthoud said.
The NTU report said former North Carolina senator and Kerry running mate John B. Edwards missed 102 days for an overpayment of nearly $64,000 and that former U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., received about $81,000 extra.
Members of Congress were paid $158,000 last year.