USA TODAY - When Rep. Howard Coble announced hisretirement, the North Carolina Republican jokingly said "the most stupid financial decision" he ever made was not paying into the pension plan available to members of Congress.
Coble, who will not run next year for a 16th term, has long been known as one of the congressional pension plan's fiercest critics and tried for years to change the system.
But just how much taxpayer money could Coble have received if he participated in the federal employee retirement system?He theoretically could have collected a pension of $76,500 a year starting in 2015, according to Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union.
"Congressman Coble has commendably saved taxpayers a significant sum of money, not only with the legislation he's supported but also through leading by example," Sepp told USA TODAY.
Because he didn't participate in the congressional pension plan, Coble will not be eligible to stay on the health plan available to lawmakers who have retired. When he was in North Carolina's Legislature, Coble also abstained from the state lawmakers' retirement plan.
"I do not think you owe me a retirement package just because I decided to go into public service," Coble says on his website, explaining his views on congressional pay and pensions.
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