Bill Would Bar Federal Employees Convicted of Sex Crimes From Receiving Pensions

Legislation has been introduced to prohibit federal employees found guilty of sexual crimes from receiving their government pensions.

Recently introduced legislation would ban federal employees who have been convicted of sexual crimes from receiving their pensions.

The No Taxpayer-Funded Pensions for Sex Criminals Act (S. 4321) was introduced by Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA). Companion legislation has been introduced in the House (H.R. 8373) by Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX).

Among the types of crimes addressed by the bill are aggravated sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children, buying or selling of children, sexual abuse of children and transportation for illegal sexual activity.

Ernst said in a statement, “The federal government should be committed to serving the American people, not the Wild West of inappropriate conduct. Our bipartisan bill would create real consequences to end bad behavior and send a signal that sexual predators are not welcome in the federal government. Through this effort, we can better protect women in the workplace and restore the integrity of public service.”

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), one of the bill’s co-sponsors, added, “It’s outrageous and downright wrong that federal employees convicted of sex crimes are eligible to collect their taxpayer-funded pension. The bipartisan No Taxpayer-Funded Pensions for Sex Criminals Act would prohibit federal employees convicted of sex offenses from collecting pensions. It’s a commonsense bill that will strengthen and improve the workplace.”


Under current law, federal employees will usually keep their pensions even if convicted of a felony.

There is one exception, however. Under the “Hiss Act,” Members of Congress and federal employees will forfeit their entire federal employee retirement annuities if convicted of a federal crime that relates to espionage, treason, sabotage, or several other national security offenses against the United States.

In other words, once a person meets the requirements to retire as a federal employee, it is highly unlikely that a person will lose the money sent to federal retirees every month under the federal retirement system.

There was one recent notable exception in which a former federal employee lost his pension after being convicted to serve multiple life sentences for the heinous nature of his crimes.

Stanley Patrick Weber worked as a pediatrician at government-run Indian Health Service (IHS) hospitals for several decades. He retired in 2011 but continued to work at the Indian Health Service until 2016. In 2019, he was found guilty on eight counts of child sexual abuse.

He received the maximum punishment: five life sentences for aggravated sexual abuse and 15-year sentences for his three convictions of sexually abusing minors over a 12-year period in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. The judge sentenced Weber to serve all eight of his sentences consecutively and with his 18-year sentence for committing similar crimes in Montana to recognize the fact that each victim was harmed by each separate act of abuse.

In January 2021, a federal judge ordered IHS to disclose its report which outlined what the Wall Street Journal described as “…the agency’s decades-long mishandling of a pediatrician who sexually abused Native American boys in his care…” that the agency had tried to keep under wraps.

Despite the crimes and conviction, Weber continued to receive his federal pension of $98,285.64 per year. Lawmakers in Congress took notice, however, and introduced legislation to change the federal law to deny pension payments to convicted sex offenders. The bills that were introduced did not become law.

In a very unusual occurrence, Weber ultimately was stripped of his pension in 2021 after a Board of Inquiry convened to review the situation. It was only because of the unique nature of Public Health Service Commissioned Corps that the pension was rescinded. For details, see How This Federal Employee Lost His Pension.

The lawmakers behind the No Taxpayer-Funded Pensions for Sex Criminals Act now see another situation potentially unfolding where a former federal employee convicted of sexual crimes could wind up with a taxpayer-funded pension.

On April 30, 2024, former Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) attorney Mark Black was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring to sexually exploit numerous children after pleading guilty in January.

According to the Justice Department, Black was a member of two online groups whose goal was to locate prepubescent girls online and convince them to livestream themselves engaging in sexually explicit conduct. He and his co-conspirators would covertly record this conduct and share the videos with each other.

The Virginia State Bar revoked Black’s law license in February. However, assuming he is eligible for a pension from the federal government, nothing under current law would preclude him from receiving it.

As a press release from Congressman Sessions states, “…the recent sentencing of former FDIC senior attorney Mark Black to 20 years in prison for egregious child exploitation charges emphasizes the urgent need for reform.”

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.