Mark Jacobs told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt that he didn’t think U.S. Senators make that much money. This was after he was asked if he would sacrifice his government salary as some members of Congress who are personally wealthy have done.
U.S. Senators make $174,000 a year. From where I’m sitting that’s a lot of money, and that doesn’t even include the insane benefits and pensions U.S. Senators receive. From Jacobs perspective having been the CEO of Reliant Energy it’s a major pay cut. In 2012 his income included $8.22 million in severance and deferred compensation from Reliant Energy. Jacobs has loaned $1.32 million to his own campaign and contributed an additional $321,000. This makes up 70% of his total campaign receipts.
Jacobs campaign spokesperson, Steve Grubbs, attempted to clarify the statement. “He’s never really looked into how much U.S. Senators make. The point he was trying to make is that no matter what U.S. Senators make, he’s not doing it for the money. He wants to be able to reflect back on his life and know that he’s done something for his country and for his family. And this is that part of his life, and he wants to contribute to public service,” Grubbs said.
So go be a mentor. Go volunteer at church. Start an afterschool program in the inner city. Having significance in the second half of one’s life is not an appropriate reason to run for U.S. Senate. Also, how does saying “U.S. Senators don’t make that much money” reflective of not running for the money? Who does that anyway? Also don’t you think one should know how much Senators are paid before running be some useful information? I have a hard time believing he didn’t know.
But we’ll have to take Grubbs’ word for it.
I’m not saying being wealthy is a bad thing, it’s not. It’s obvious that Mark Jacobs has been successful in the private sector and has made the most out of the opportunities he has had. Being out-of-touch is bad for somebody who says he wants to represent constituents whom many will never see the amount he made in 2012 (or even the amount of money he’s provided for his campaign) in their lifetime.
According to Iowa Quick Facts: The average median household income in Iowa is $49,427. The median family income is $62,821. Iowa’s per capita income is $25,667. So with that in mind, $174,000 is a lot of money.
Derek Flowers, spokesperson for the Ernst campaign, responded, ““Of course a Texas energy executive wouldn’t think that $174,000 is a lot of money. However, real Iowans know the value of a dollar and would most certainly know the salary of a job they are applying for.”
Sam Clovis said he doesn’t appear to be sensitive to the situation of average Iowans. “Mark’s comments indicate that perhaps he is not sensitive to the reality of everyday Iowans when he makes comments about congressional salaries not being very much money. Maybe the salary of a U.S. Senator is not that much for Mr. Jacobs, but fewer than 10% of Iowans earn that much. Perhaps he needs to have a better understanding of the people he seeks to represent,” said Sam Clovis. Clovis went on to say that such comments made by those seeking higher office indicate that they want to become part of the ‘ruling class’ rather than working to represent the ‘country class,’” he said.
A new theme song for the Jacobs campaign?