Congressman Wants to Take Away Salaries of Federal Employees in Contempt of Congress

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By on April 16, 2014 in Pay & Benefits with 0 Comments

Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX) recently introduced legislation that would take away the salaries of federal employees who are found to be in contempt of Congress.

Known as the Contempt Act (H.R. 4447), the bill would officially direct the employer of any officer or employee of the federal government who is in contempt of Congress to not pay compensation to the officer or employee while he or she remains in contempt.

Farenthold made it clear that the bill is primarily directed at Attorney General Eric Holder.

“If he [Holder] continues to refuse to resign, my bill would at least prevent hardworking American taxpayers from paying his salary,” said Farenthold.

Farenthold issued a full statement with more detail about the impetus for his legislation:

“In 2012, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting operation – despite this fact, he is still receiving his paycheck courtesy of American taxpayers.

In the next few weeks, the House is set to hold former IRS department head Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for her role in the IRS’ political targeting of conservative groups. While Ms. Lerner has since retired from the IRS, my bill will at least prevent current and future federal employees, like Attorney General Holder, from continuing to collect their taxpayer-paid salaries while held in contempt of Congress.

The American people should not be footing the bill for federal employees who stonewall Congress or rewarding government officials’ bad behavior. If the average American failed to do his or her job, he or she would hardly be rewarded. High-ranking government officials should be treated no differently than everyone else.”

For those who may be curious, Eric Holder’s annual salary in 2013 was $199,700 according to data from

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.