Quitting early is popular among this year’s Republican elected officials.
Representative Denny Rehberg, who still represents Montana until his term ends on Jan. 2, has been mysteriously silent. As Montana Street Fighter reported, he has stopped making public appearances, did not call Tester on Election Night, and won’t comment on legislative goals for his remaining term. He deleted his official Twitter and Facebook accounts, cutting off contact with the people he represents. Even if Rehberg did little legislative work, the next month is particularly important as Congress must act on the “fiscal cliff,” the combination of expiring tax and spending provisions that could change the federal budget by over $5 trillion over the next 10 years.
Lewis & Clark County Commissioner Derek Brown has followed a similar pattern. He set the date of his resignation for Jan 1, but has stopped coming to work, prompting a legal question at the County whether he should still be paid. According to the Independent Record, “he has already cleaned out his office and does not intend to participate in any commission activities in his remaining time on board, barring a crisis or exceptional situation.”
The two officials are obligated to fulfill their contract to the people who elected them. As long as they are getting paid, Rehberg and Brown should do their jobs.
Brown’s salary for his “six-week vacation” is approximately $9,000. As a member of Congress without a leadership position, Rehberg gets paid an annual salary of $174,000, so the taxpayers are paying him $29,000 for November and December, when he’s not working. Similarly, Rehberg’s staff are paid slightly less than $1 million, or approximately $153,000 during these two months.