Have Congressmen Messer and Rokita kept their word and donated their shutdown pay?

Congressmen Messer and Rokita both claimed in January they’d donate pay from three-day shutdown to various organizations

INDIANAPOLIS – More than a month after Congressmen Messer and Rokita said they’d forego their pay from January’s government shutdown, it’s unclear whether they’ve actually gone through with their donations.

Joe Donnelly last week continued his history while serving in Washington of donating his shutdown pay to charity, giving the $940 he received during the three-day shutdown in January to ten Indiana foodbanks. Back in January, both Washington Republicans angling to run against him followed his lead and released statements touting their own intentions to donate.

However, while Joe has donated his three days worth of salary from the shutdown, Congressman Rokita and Messer have been silent as to what they’ve done with theirs.

Congressman Rokita’s refusal to donate his shutdown pay wouldn’t be shocking, given his previous unwillingness to do so. This would be the first shutdown during which he donated his own pay. During the 2013 shutdown, Congressman Rokita not only kept his paycheck but went further and even said he deserved to be paid because he was “doing [his] job” by voting to shut down the government.

Congressman Rokita may have felt compelled to donate his pay from this year’s shutdown after making “no budget, no pay” a major provision of his campaign speech. That didn’t stop him from hypocritically complaining about having to do so in an interview on Fox News during the shutdown, saying “frankly, I’ve been voting to keep the government open, so I’m not sure that I have to [donate].”

During the 2013 shutdown, Congressman Messer claimed that asking for his pay to be withheld was “unnecessary.” Even after it was reported that he was joining other Members of Congress in “rejecting” his pay, he failed to explain what he did with his paycheck.

“Do Congressmen Messer and Rokita think Hoosiers won’t see the typical Washington hypocrisy of announcing their intention to donate their shutdown pay but never actually doing it?,” said Michael Feldman, spokesman for the Indiana Democratic Party. “Congressmen Messer and Rokita need to make clear to Hoosiers that they’ve kept their word and donated their shutdown pay. Otherwise, Hoosiers will know that while both men are capable of inviting damage to Indiana’s economy by voting to shut down the government, they’re unwilling to deal with the consequences for themselves that a shutdown would cause.”

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