From the archives: Another broken promise from Rehberg

Congressman promises to never accept pay raises, voted 5 times to raise his pay

BILLINGS, Mont. – In a newly discovered newspaper article, multimillionaire Congressman Dennis Rehberg promises Montanans he will never accept a pay raise, a cost-of-living increase or pension while serving in Congress.

But in Congress, Rehberg voted for five pay increases. During his 12 years in Congress Rehberg, a multimillionaire, accepted seven pay increases. In fact, Rehberg’s annual salary is now $28,900 more than when he first took office.

“Senatorial candidate Dennis Rehberg said his stand on pay raises and pensions stems from philosophical principles, not because he doesn’t need the money,” The Miles City Star reported on May 22, 1996–during Rehberg’s first failed run for the U.S. Senate.

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“Dennis Rehberg’s ‘philosophical principles’ must have changed since the last time he ran for the U.S. Senate because in Congress, he broke his promise to Montana never to accept a pay raise many times,” said Montanans for Tester spokesman Aaron Murphy. “Montanans can’t trust Congressman Rehberg because he failed to hold himself accountable to his own promises.”

Jon Tester has never voted to increase his own pay in the U.S. Senate. Tester has repeatedly voted to block pay raises for Members of Congress and pushed for a repeal of automatic pay raises.

Senate candidate says he won’t accept pension or pay increase

Miles City Star

May 22, 1996

Senatorial candidate Dennis Rehberg said his stand on pay raises and pensions stems from philosophical principles, not because he doesn’t need the money

Lt. Gov. Rehberg was in Miles City last week as part of his campaign to unseat Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. Although he faces Ed Borcherdt and Jack McDonald in the republican primary Jun 4, Rehberg is the frontrunner and has been concentrating his fire on Baucus.

Rehberg touched a on themes mentioned in his own and other Republican advertisements noting that Baucus’s pay has tripled in 24 years and he is eligible for a pension that will pay him more than a million dollars over a normal lifespan.

“I will not take a pension,” Rehberg said, noting his several public sector jobs, including legislator and lieutenant governor. “I have not, and I will not.”

“Nor will I accept a pay raise, cost-of-living or otherwise, as a U.S. senator.”

He said he has turned back to pay raises, one during the Stan Stephens administration and one about six months ago.

He added that aside from his and his wife’s salaries, the family receives about $2,000 in lease payments on a ranch and in rent from their first home, to which they retained ownership.

“I kind of resent people implying that I don’t need the money,” rehberg said. “I do need the money. For me, it’s a philosophical issue.

“My wife and I are both working, like everyone else, and we’re socking some away.”

He said he has a 10-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter.

“We worry about college expenses. But these multi-million dollar pensions for members of Congress I think are wrong.”

He said it is estimated that 40 percent of people’s income goes for local, state and federal taxes.

“People are will to pay taxes for government services if they are efficiently spent. But that’s the rub,” Rehberg said. “They see millions of dollars being spent to reintroduce a predator it cost millions of dollars to eradicate.”

He also cited his record as a lieutenant governor who visited each county each year during his services under both the Stephens and Racicot administrations.

“I’ve been here trying to solve some of the problems that exist—and I think we’ve solved some,” Rehberg said. “Some people have criticized my philosophy—to liberal or too conservative.” But he said there has been no criticism of his conduct in his duties.

He added that he tried to eliminate his own job, recommending that the lieutenant governor’s office be scrapped.