WASHINGTON -- After Todd Akin lost the Missouri Senate race to Democrat Claire McCaskill in November, he had one final piece of business to take care of as an outgoing member of the House of Representatives -- giving piles of government money to his staff. Akin nearly doubled the salaries of his House staffers in the quarter after his defeat, according to the website LegiStorm, which tracks congressional pay.
Only retiring Democrat Gary Ackerman of New York was more generous with public money, barely topping Akin's 98 percent increase in pay, the website shows. Allen West, a Tea Party favorite from South Florida, was the fourth biggest giver of taxpayer bonuses after he lost reelection to Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.). Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) was the third most generous, according to LegiStorm.
Of the top 10 members of Congress most generous with year-end bonuses, nine were Republicans, and 14 of the top 20 were, not coincidentally, on their way out of the House.
Republican Reps. Devin Nunes (Calif.), Steve Austria (Ohio), Steve LaTourette (Ohio), Bob Turner (N.Y.), Roscoe Bartlett (Md.) and Jon Runyan (N.J.) rounded out the top 10 in 2012.
When Democrats lost a historic number of seats in 2010, outgoing members of the party lavished their staff with unspent money, with 17 of the top 20 givers carrying a D next to their name.
House staffers typically get bonuses at the end of the year depending on how much is left in the office budget, but on average in 2012 those bumps were just 16.4 percent for Republicans and 15.1 percent for Democrats. Bonuses are not labeled as such in the congressional books, but LegiStorm is able to count them by comparing the increase in reported salary in the fourth quarter to the average of the first three quarters.
CORRECTION: This article originally misstated the number of outgoing Democrats who gave their staff unspent money in 2010.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place