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AIG Bailout

Q: Did Congress bail out AIG because it insures members’ pensions?
A: This widely e-mailed claim is a hoax. It actually was the Federal Reserve that bailed out AIG, not Congress. And federal pensions aren’t insured by AIG or any other company.

IRAs, 401(k)s and You

Q: Are congressional Democrats talking about confiscating IRA and 401(k) investment accounts?
A: No. There’s no plan to seize these accounts. One House witness at a committee hearing proposed to allow some people to trade their old accounts for a new type that would be less risky.

Felons in Elected Office

Q: Can a convicted felon serve in elected office?
A: The Constitution allows a convicted felon to be a member of Congress, even if in prison. It’s up to the Senate or House to decide who may serve. As for state offices, different laws apply in different places.

Candidates’ Congressional Past

Q: How long have Obama and McCain been in Congress?
A: Obama has been in the U.S. Senate since January 2005. McCain joined the House in Jan. 1983 and the Senate four years later. A chain e-mail that purports to show their time in Congress give a bogus comparison.

The Democratic Congress Did All That?

Q: Did electing a Democratic Congress in 2006 really lead to increased unemployment, higher gas prices and more home foreclosures?
A: No, and most of the figures in a widely-circulated e-mail are made up. In fact, the entire premise of the e-mail is a logical fallacy.

From Congress to the White House

Q: Who was the last sitting congressman or senator to be elected president?
A: John F. Kennedy was the last president to have moved directly from Congress to the White House.

Defining an ‘Earmark’?

Q: What is an earmark?
A: Earmarks are government funds that are allocated by a legislator for a particular pet project, often without proper review.

U.S. Intelligence on WMDs in Iraq

Q: What was known to U.S. intelligence and Congress about WMDs in Iraq before the vote to go to war?
A: Senior U.S. intelligence officials believed, incorrectly, that Iraq had stockpiles of chemical and germ weapons and was developing nuclear weapons. They also agreed Saddam Hussein wouldn’t give such weapons to terrorists unless attacked. Few members of Congress read the full 92-page report with all its qualifications and dissents.

Congressional Pensions

Q: Does a United States senator receive his full pay upon retiring?
A: No. A member of Congress can’t receive more than 80 percent of his or her final salary upon retirement, and the average is much less.