Thursday, December 11, 2008

clinton would take pay cut at state department

Recent reports on the blogosphere claimed that Sen. Hillary Clinton may have faced an uphill battle against the Constitution during her nomination hearings.
An obscure section on compensation for public officials, the Emoluments Clause, says that no member of Congress can be appointed to a government post if that job's pay was increased during the lawmaker's current term.
As it turns out, the position of secretary of State received a pay raise during Clinton's tenure as New York's junior senator. So in order to keep things on the up and up, her congressional colleagues have changed it back.
Clinton would make about $4,700 less as secretary of state than her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.

Congress late Wednesday lowered the salary for the nation's top diplomat to keep Clinton's nomination from running afoul of the Constitution.
Clinton's new salary will be $186,600, still an improvement over her compensation as a senator.

Not everyone is pleased, though, and conservative watchdog groups may challenge her appointment as the nation's top diplomat, not sure that Congress' pay cut satisfies the constitutional requirement.

But Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said Thursday that Congress’ action has never been tested in court, and he says his group is considering litigation in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to challenge her appointment.

“In our view, it is an end-run around the Constitution,” Fitton said. “We are contemplating our next steps.”

Clinton's confirmation hearings will likely begin next month.

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