THE BLOG
07/11/2013 11:15 am ET Updated Sep 10, 2013

Coffman Bashes Pensions, Then Takes One (Plus His Salary)

Does Rep. Mike Coffman see hypocrisy in drawing an annual $55,547 pension from the state of Colorado after suggesting in the past that Colorado should consider suspending pensions for people (like him) who start a new job [in Congress making $174,000] after retiring from state employment?

In her article Tuesday detailing some of this, The Denver Post's Allison Sherry provided this response from Coffman, which deserves a follow-up:

Coffman said Monday through an e-mail that public pensions "at the state and local level, all across our country, are in desperate need of reform."

He added that "the best pension reform for members of Congress is simply to abolish it."

One wonders if Coffman sent the wrong email to Sherry. Perhaps he was answering a question from another reporter on a completely different topic?

Given that the Post headline on Sherry's story reads, "Pension critic Rep. Mike Coffman already gets PERA money," she should ask him directly, "What's up with saying one thing and, when your own bank account is involved, doing another?" If he refuses to answer, we'd like to know.

The National Journal's Shane Goldmacher got more out of Coffman during an interview last month, reporting that Coffman "stumbles in defending his decision to draw both a paycheck and a state pension."

Coffman: "I fought for reform when I was in state, and I'm fighting to reform the system now," he says. "At states, they ought to end the defined-benefit portion programs... I'm certainly a beneficiary of it, but at the state level that's unsustainable, too, and that's going to have to change..."

"The part that I oppose is having a defined-benefit retirement plan for members of Congress -- and have argued against a defined-benefit program when I was at the state level," he tells National Journal.

But isn't he taking part in a defined-benefit program?

"I am," he replies. "I am."

Still, though, the question lingers. Does Coffman see any hypocrisy in his own actions? And the kicker: If so, what does he think he should do about it?