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Loser Congresscritter Thoughtfully Gives Departing Staff Extra Money For Hookers, Blow

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Sometimes, congresscritters are the douchebag gift that keeps on giving, long (well, semi-long...long-ish. FINE. not all that long) after they leave. Witness Chip Cravaack (it is more fun to say the last syllable like the ACK! in Cathy comic strips, not like AAHK in, well, nothing really), late of Minnesota's 8th District. The now-deposed one-term back-bencher is in the news again because of the way hemade it rain for staffers with sweet sweet taxpayer coin when he knew he was on the way out:


Former U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack awarded his staff some of the largest salary increases in Congress last year as he left office.

For the first three quarters of 2012, the Minnesota Republican’s staff payroll averaged a little over $197,000. In the final three months of the year, it shot up to $354,000, an 80 percent increase.

Measured another way, the average three-month salary for full-time staff in Cravaack’s office rose 93 percent, from $12,269 to $23,722, in the fourth quarter of the year, with most of the increases coming in November — when he lost his re-election bid — according to an organization that tracks congressional pay. Five staff members saw their salaries at least double and Cravaack boosted the pay of another six staffers by more than 30 percent in November, congressional records show.

Wonkesotans, you probably wish you worked for a lame duck congresscritter too! Let's do the maths, shall we? Before your incredible raise, you and your buddies made an average of $12,000 every three months. (No, we have no idea why the original story didn't break it down by month. Maybe it is a Minnesota thing? We'll ask around). So, you made about $4,000 each month. $48,000 a year is nothing to cry about, and is much more than the Editrix pays any of us. But - $48K in DC is probably like $10 per year somewhere else, or something. We'll ask around about that too. But - if you were working for this particular loser, your average pay would have jumped up to close to about $7,500 per month for the last bit of your stay. We'd like to take a moment to display our dazzling math knowledge and note that the $23,000/quarter is an AVERAGE which means many people made MORE than that and oh god we can't write anymore because we can't see through the tears.

But wait! Cravaack did it because he is a nice guy, a solid dude, even if he does look like a dime-store Mel Gibson. (No, really. Go look at the picture. We'll wait). He paid his people exorbitant amounts to make sure they had coin if they were out of work after Cravaack's re-election bid crashed and burned:

“At the end of the year, I maxed out everybody because I had no idea how long these guys would be out of work,” Cravaack said. According to the office of the Chief Administrative Officer, congressional political aides do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

It's nice that someone who actually opposed minimum wage increases because of all the jerb-killing that would happen and ran on the standard GOP platform of treating government like your household budget blah blah blah saw fit to take care of his staffers with, let's be honest, some serious fucking monies in the event they'd have a gap year. Sure would be nice if your horrorshow job at Walmart doubled your salary for a few months before firing you, wouldn't it? But it is just so hard to resist throwing money around when it isn't actually your money:

Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington-based fiscal watchdog group, said: “It’s not his money to say, ‘I’m going to help my people.’ This is public service and there is always the risk that someone who works for a member of Congress could be out of a job. ... That’s part of the deal that comes along with working on Capitol Hill.”

Shut up, hippie government watchdog guy. Chip Cravaack earned every last cent of that money by going to DC, wandering around helplessly for a bit, accidentally moving out of Minnesota to New Hampshire, and losing after only one term. That kind of blood, sweat, and tears buys you the right to spend other people's money like a drunken sailor. A drunken, ineffectual, out-of-work sailor, but a sailor nonetheless.

[StarTribune via wonket operative Barbara]

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Video screenshot, CBS 4 Miami

The mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are still killing people. Two survivors of Parkland killed themselves in the past week, and this morning, the body of the father of one of the Sandy Hook children was found in Newtown. And something like 35,800 guns will be sold today, if 2019 stats are comparable to 2018 sales figures. But cheer up -- without Barack Obama scaring everyone with his promise to take all the guns, that's down 16 percent from the highest gun sales in history in 2016. Then again, despite the lower gun sales, there were nearly 40,000 deaths caused with firearms in 2018. It was the third record year in a row. We're Number One.

The news has been just horrifying. On March 17, Sydney Aiello, 19, who'd been on campus at Stoneman Douglas the day of the 2018 massacre, killed herself. She'd been a close friend of one of the girls who died in the shooting, and had been diagnosed with PTSD, according to her mother. She had started college but found it hard to just to sit in classrooms because of her fears that a gunman might burst in. Then, this weekend, another Stoneman Douglas student, a male sophomore, as yet unidentified, killed himself -- like Ms. Aiello, with a gun.

Today, police in Newtown found the body of Jeremy Richman, a neuropharmacologist and the father of Avielle Richman, who was only 6 years old when she was one of the 20 children and six adults murdered at Sandy Hook in 2012. Richman and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, had founded a nonprofit to research the neurological problems that might lead to violent behavior. The foundation had an office in the complex where Richman's body was found. The couple were also among the Sandy Hook parents suing Alex Jones for spreading the false conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked as part of a plot to take all the precious guns away.

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