Linder, Marshall paid big staff bonuses on way out the door
By JIM WALLS
Former Georgia Congressmen Jim Marshall and John Linder paid hefty, six-figure bonuses to their staffs before leaving Washington, a newly released analysis has found.
Marshall, defeated last year for election to a fifth term, paid staff salaries of $415,000 in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to an analysis by LegiStorm, a Washington-based website. That’s more than twice what Marshall paid his staff in the previous three quarters, LegiStorm found.
Linder, who retired after nine terms in Washington, paid his staff $390,000 in the fourth quarter — 86 percent more than in earlier quarters.
Those payments ranked the two departing lawmakers fifth and seventh, respectively, in increased end-of-year pay for their staffs, LegiStorm’s analysis found.
LegiStorm compared total staff salaries for each quarter of 2010 to come up with its rankings. The calculated bonuses are estimates, because bonuses are not specifically designated in pay data released quarterly by Congress.
The pay figures for individual staffers can also be skewed as they come and go over the course of a year.
Linder chief of staff Derick Corbett, for instance, earned about 50 percent more in the last quarter of 2010 as the previous one. Records show Corbett was not paid for six weeks in the previous quarter during the political campaign of Linder’s former chief of staff Rob Woodall, who was elected to replace him.
Overall, LegiStorm found 38 House members paid six-figure bonuses to their staffs. The largest bonus packages were generally given by retiring members or those who’d been sent packing by voters.
“According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, departing members paid nearly twice as much in end-of-year bonuses as members who returned for the 112th Congress. Staff salaries for members of Congress come out of the allowance each member is allotted for all official spending, including office expenses. Any money left at the end of the year is returned to the treasury.
Although bonuses are not specifically listed in the salary data, the amounts can be inferred based on the spike in fourth quarter pay compared to the first three quarters of the year. For the individual member comparison, we removed interns and part-time workers from the numbers, and found the average salary based on the number of people working in the office. To ensure that the inflow and outflow of staff played as small a role as possible in the numbers, LegiStorm pro-rated the salaries of staffers based on how long they served during the year and calculated the increased salary on a prorated basis.”
Founded in 2006, LegiStorm.com specializes in presenting and analyzing data on congressional pay and travel. The website also offers free, searchable databases of financial disclosures, earmarks and travel, including privately financed trips.