Oh, the perks! John Boehner’s gone from the speaker’s chair, but he’s not off the public dime just yet, thanks to a little-known privilege given to former Speakers of the House.
Boehner, whose resignation from Congress was effective last week, will receive a taxpayer-funded office in the Longworth House Office Building, complete with a well-paid staff. In fact, “no statutory restrictions exist on cost, type or location” of the office, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.
The perk also allows Boehner to send franked mail, postage free, a privilege members of Congress enjoy. The ex-speaker’s office is currently staffed by longtime aide Amy Lozupone, who most recently worked as Director of Administrative Operations. By law, the office can be maintained for up to four years—until 2019.
The former speaker is letting taxpayers off easy, according to former Boehner spokesman Dave Schnittger, who spoke to TheBlaze.
“The way in which Speaker Boehner is going about it is pretty bare-bones,” Schnittger said. “By choosing an existing and vacant office in the Longworth House Office Building instead of renting space somewhere in Washington or elsewhere in the country, there is a significant savings being achieved by comparison to other traditional options.”
In other words, Boehner could have set up shop in the Trump Tower in Manhattan, so Americans should be glad.
The most recent former speaker isn’t the first to take advantage of the office privilege. Now-disgraced Dennis Hastert spent about $1.5 million on his post-speaker office between 2008 and 2012, according to CQ Roll Call.
If Boehner accepts a position with the government, he must give up the office, although he can keep it, along with the staff, and work in the private sector. With an estimated net worth of nearly $2 million, Boehner isn’t strapped for cash—and he is certainly worth millions to lobbyists.
“It certainly would be improper for him to lobby out of that office, but there’s nothing that says he couldn’t enjoy the benefits in [a] wind-down, even if he were to become a lobbyist,” Kenneth Gross, a lobbying and ethics lawyer, told CQ Roll Call. “Whether it’s appropriate or not is a different issue.”
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Boehner waxed nostalgic about leaving the speaker’s office. “I’ll miss the people around here most,” he said. But somehow, it just seems like Washington hasn’t seen the last of Boehner.
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