Massie uses pledge to turn down required federal pension in ad aimed at 2 opponents

05/14/2012 12:16 PM

Republican 4th Congressional District candidate Thomas Massie is using his new ad, which began airing Tuesday, to highlight his promise to reject a congressional pension, if elected — even though members of Congress are locked into the retirement plan.

A member of Congress can’t refuse to participate in the pension system, as cn|2 previously reported. . But Massie has said he would write a check to repay the treasury, just as presidential candidate and Republican Congressman Ron Paul has sought to do.

Massie also is using the issue as a contrast with two of his opponents who have government service — Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore and state Rep. Alecia Webb-Edgington of Fort Wright. Webb-Edgington is retired from the Kentucky State Police and qualified for a pension. But she has served in the legislature less than five years, so she’s not eligible for legislative retirement benefits. Moore has served as judge-executive since 1999.

Massie has served as the Lewis County judge-executive for just a year-and-a-half and is not fully vested in the County Employee Retirement System.

Other candidates, including Tom Wurtz and Marcus Carey, have called Massie’s pledge “cheap political theater.”

Wurtz, a tea party supporter, said not compensating members of Congress for their service — either through pensions, health benefits or salaries — only encourage wealthy or already retired individuals to run for office.

That issue came up in the April 30 debate at Northern Kentucky University. That part of the discussion starts at 4:15 of this video:

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