SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 15, 2014

Moulton questions Tierney's shutdown pay

By Neil H. Dempsey
Staff Writer

---- — Remember when Congressman John Tierney pledged to go without pay during the government shutdown last October?

Seth Moulton does. Moulton, who is running against Tierney in the Democratic primary, tipped us off that, lo and behold, Tierney ended up accepting pay for the period during the shutdown, which lasted from Oct. 1 to Oct. 16.

When approached, Tierney’s people confirmed as much, but pointed to his Oct. 3 statement on the matter: “I am standing in solidarity with my hard-working staff. As long as they are not being paid, I will not take a paycheck.”

As it turns out, congressmen are paid once a month, on the last day of the month — not twice a month like their counterparts in the Senate. So, the shutdown ended before Tierney would have had to forgo his paycheck in order to stay true to his word.

Moulton’s people think that violates the spirit of what he said and pointed out that other representatives — Democrats and Republicans alike — ended up returning a portion of their October 2013 pay to the U.S. Treasury or donating it to charity.

“Congressman Tierney was only interested in painting the illusion that he stands with his constituents, instead of actually standing with them,” Moulton said.

Tierney said federal employees and his staffers received back pay, so there was no reason to give up his own.

What do you think?

Campaign stops

Tierney is scheduled to be in Peabody today, hosting a jobs and benefits fair for veterans at the high school from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Local employers, nonprofits, government agencies and business counselors are expected to attend.

“One of my highest priorities as a member of Congress is supporting our nation’s veterans by working to increase access to services and employment opportunities for our former service members,” Tierney said.

Women’s History Month

Noting that March is Women’s History Month, Marisa DeFranco, the third Democratic contender for the 6th District seat, recently decried the “staggeringly low” number of women in Congress and said money is to blame.

“Big money is a big keep-out sign to women on the door of Congress,” she wrote. “The big money candidates get more press, which garners them more money, which gets them more press.”

Money’s a big issue with DeFranco, and she’s pledged to run a “clean money campaign” without funds from political action committees.

“The pundits care only about who has the most money,” she wrote. “They don’t care who has won national and state awards for their volunteer work on women’s and human rights (me.) They don’t care who has worked with and helped the most small businesses, many owned by women (me). They don’t care who has spent the most volunteer time advancing pay equity (me). They care only about money.”

By the way, DeFranco made those comments in a letter soliciting contributions.

Also new in DeFranco’s world, she was recently endorsed by the Feminist Majority Foundation, a group out of Virginia that focuses on women’s rights and equality.

Eleanor Smeal, the group’s president, said DeFranco is “a leader that we need in Congress to advance women’s pay equity, as well as immigration reform, LGBT rights and social justice issues such as ending sex trafficking.”

Questions? Tips?

Have a question about the race? A news tip to pass on? Shoot a line to ndempsey@salemnews.com.