UPDATED: Breaking the Law for Lisa Murkowski
[Updated 4:13pm AK Time] So it seems that Lisa is not breaking the law… just being really slimy about it. She has claimed her staff as ‘excepted’ aka essential. Thus they need to show up to work – but don’t get paid until the shut down is over. Mean while 800,000 Federal Employees are deemed non-essential – and don’t get paid at all. Here are some people that are considered “non-essential” – while the person that get’s Lisa’s coffee is considered essential.
- The Doctors at the Center for Disease Control that run the flu program
- Employees that run the Department of Homeland Security’s E-Verify program that allows business’ to check if a person they’re hiring is a documented worker.
- Almost everyone at the Environmental Protection Agency (how convenient)
- The people that process Veteran claims.
All these people are less important than Lisa’s essential staff.
Here’s her recent facebook post responding to TheMudflats story:
Thanks to all the Alaskans for reaching about my staff and the shutdown. To comply with federal law, I have designated my staff as “excepted” staff – deciding against furloughing them. During a shutdown, and under federal law, I am required to designate my staff as either ‘excepted’ or ‘non-excepted.’ A staffer designated as ‘excepted’ must report to work and assist me to carry out my Constitutional responsibilities. In the legislative branch, it is only those designated as ‘non-excepted’ – or in the executive branch, ‘non-essential’ – that may not work during a shutdown by law. During a shutdown, nobody gets paid – but some employees are designated as ‘essential’ or ‘excepted’ and required to report to work. Here’s a useful article to walk you through the details: link to the Washington Post.
So Lisa, thanks for the update and good to know you’re reading TheMudflats and following Shannyn Moore – but one more question… Are you still getting paid?
Because as of right now you don’t seem that essential, but whoever is running your social media does.
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In a facebook posting today Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski claims that she’s keeping the doors open to her office and that her staff is working – despite not being paid. “There’s a lot of uncertainty for federal workers and the Alaskans who know them or work with them every day. I want Alaskans to know and as we work to find a solution to this shutdown, my offices are open and staffed so that you will be able to contact me or receive the constituent services you need. My staff receives no pay for their work during this shutdown until a resolution is found. As for my DC office, if Alaskans have traveled over four thousand miles to meet with me, they will not be greeted by a ‘Closed’ sign – unlike at other offices. I am here to work for you, even if our government seems a bit broken right now. While that may seem very nice of her staff to do – it’s not technically… legal. A Washington Post article cites what they call an ‘obscure law’ in an article published yesterday:
Federal employees who do check their inboxes will technically be breaking an obscure law known as the Antideficiency Act, which was passed over a hundred years ago and carries a penalty of fines or even imprisonment.
So I guess if her now un-paid staff (hmm, unpaid staff… what’s an old term we used to use for that?) is just standing around not looking at computers or answering phones then it’s ok. I’m curious if Lisa is at least buying them lunch, as she’s still getting paid.
As I was just about to hit publish Sen. Murkowski published this video on her facebook page.
Lisa Murkowski: “If I’m the local sandwich shop around the corner from where the fish and wildlife service fielding is and if most of the folks who work for fish and wildlife aren’t working next week… what does that mean for me? How many loaves of bread do I make this next week? I think that we need to appreciate and understand when we’re talking about a government shutdown, it does not mean it does not just mean those who receive a check from the Federal Government….”
Sure, now she gets it. Now that if actually effects her. The Federal government is more than a gov’ment handout… maybe she should talk to her friends in the House.
Meanwhile on Rep. Don Young’s twitter page this question continues to go unanswered.
@repdonyoung Can they explain how idling 13,000 Alaskan professionals is going to help our state’s economy?
— Dr. Russell T. Gould (@DrRussellTGould) October 1, 2013