By Nolan Hicks
WASHINGTON — Rep. Chris Collins will likely get to keep his congressional pension — worth an estimated $17,000 annually — despite quitting Congress in disgrace and planning to plead guilty to an insider trading scheme.
The fraud charges Collins faces are not serious enough to warrant the New York Republican losing his federal retirement, experts told The Post.
Current law requires a congressman be convicted of an extraordinary charge, like treason, espionage or lying to a federal grand jury or to Congress, or other top-level crimes in order to lose their retirement.
OpenTheBooks.com calculated the $17,000 payout figure based on an average congressional salary figure and the number of years he spent in Washington.
"It’s too bad that federal law doesn’t allow for members of Congress to be stripped of their pensions for regular felony convictions," OpenTheBooks.com founder Adam Andrzejewski told The Post.
"Even in Illinois, convicted governors lose their state pension upon conviction of a crime."
His group is based out of a Chicago suburb.
After serving five years in Congress, lawmakers are eligible for retirement benefits, though longer tenures mean bigger payouts.
Collins served six years and vested in January 2018, eight months before he was indicted by Manhattan federal prosecutors in August 2018. He subsequently won re-election in his rural, Buffalo-area district
On Monday, Collins submitted a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying he planned to resign. It will be made official on the House floor Tuesday during a pro forma session.
He is expected to plead guilty in Manhattan federal court in a hearing set for 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to court filings and people familiar with the case.