UPDATED: Dobbs falsely identified convicted former Republican Rep. Janklow as a Democrat

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On CNN, Lou Dobbs asserted that "[f]ormer Congressman Bill Janklow, a Democrat from South Dakota, was convicted of striking and killing a motorcyclist with his car in 2003. He was sentenced to 100 days in prison." In fact, Janklow was a Republican member of the House of Representatives.

During the July 31 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, host Lou Dobbs claimed, "Well, over the past 50 years, members of Congress have been convicted of at least 16 different felonies, including fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, extortion, drug possession. One member was even convicted of manslaughter." Dobbs continued, "Former Congressman Bill Janklow, a Democrat from South Dakota, was convicted of striking and killing a motorcyclist with his car in 2003. He was sentenced to 100 days in prison." In fact, Janklow was a Republican member of the House of Representatives who resigned from Congress after being convicted of manslaughter.

From the July 31 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: Senator Ted Stevens today pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges. The Republican from Alaska accused of lying about accepting more than a quarter of a million dollars worth of gifts, renovations to his Alaskan home, and not reporting them. The 84-year-old Stevens is the Senate's longest-serving Republican. If convicted, he faces five years in prison for each of the seven counts.

But even if convicted of all charges, Senator Stevens will likely still keep his congressional pension. According to the National Taxpayers Union, that pension would pay the senator at least $122,000 a year in retirement. Senator Stevens, if convicted, wouldn't be the only congressional felon to keep his pension. Many convicted congressmen are now collecting their pensions, and you're paying for them. The new congressional ethics bill tried to change that, but apparently it didn't go far enough, as Lisa Sylvester now reports.

SYLVESTER: Former congressmen Dan Rostenkowski [D-IL], James Traficant [D-OH], Duke Cunningham [R-CA], and Bob Ney [R-OH] -- what do they all have in common? They all are convicted felons who are still receiving generous pensions paid for by you, the taxpayer. Together their pensions total more than $250,000, every year, for the rest of their lives.

REP. MARK KIRK (R-IL): When we get elected to Congress, we should be held to the highest standard. And I think that that means that if you are convicted of a public integrity felony, you should not have a right to your pension.

SYLVESTER: Since 1980, 20 lawmakers have been convicted of serious crimes, and are still collecting taxpayer-funded pensions. Last year, Congress passed a law banning lawmakers convicted of certain felonies from receiving their pensions, but the law doesn't apply retroactively, and it includes only 11 types of felonies and leaves off many others, like income-tax evasion.

Prosecutors say Senator Ted Stevens made false statements regarding $250,000 in gifts and house renovations he received from corporate executives. He pleaded not guilty, but if convicted, he would still be eligible to receive his pension.

MELANIE SLOAN (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington): Here we are in a situation where the very first time out of the box that this law applies, and it doesn't apply to Ted Stevens, because this particular crime, committing false statements, doesn't count. It's not one of the crimes for which you'll lose your pension benefits.

SYLVESTER: Representative Mark Kirk has introduced legislation to close the loopholes. It would broaden current law so that any federal lawmaker who commits a felony that violates the public trust would not get to retire on the taxpayers' dime.

Senator Ted Stevens is the Senate's longest-serving Republican, and the National Taxpayers Union calculates that if he left office this year, he would be eligible to receive $122,000 pension every year for the rest of his life. Lou.

DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much. Lisa Sylvester.

Well, over the past 50 years, members of Congress have been convicted of at least 16 different felonies, including fraud, conspiracy, racketeering, extortion, drug possession. One member was even convicted of manslaughter. Former Congressman Bill Janklow, a Democrat from South Dakota, was convicted of striking and killing a motorcyclist with his car in 2003. He was sentenced to 100 days in prison.

UPDATE: CNN issued a correction on the August 1 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight.

Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Lou Dobbs
Show/Publication
Lou Dobbs Tonight
Stories/Interests
Attacks on Progressives, Propaganda/Noise Machine
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