Outraged over the fact that Maj. Nidal Hasan continues to draw a taxpayer-funded salary from the U.S. Army, two congressmen filed a bill to end pay to soldiers accused of violent crimes.
They call the legislation the Stop Pay for Violent Offenders Act, which was filed Monday.
It would cut off any pay to soldiers charged with a violent crime and funnel what would have been their pay to a fund for crime victims.
One of the act’s co-sponsors, Rep. Tim Griffin, R-Ark., said he felt the need to draft the legislation after learning that Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of carrying out the Nov. 5, 2009, mass shooting on post, had drawn more than $278,000 from the U.S. government since the time of the attack.
“The delays in Hasan’s trial over the past nearly four years certainly brought attention to the fact that he has received over a quarter-million dollars in taxpayer dollars after he allegedly committed the attack,” Griffin said.
Under current military justice rules, Hasan will continue to be paid until convicted by a jury. With the repeated delays to the start of his capital murder trial, the major effectively earned more than 3½ years of officer pay while incarcerated.
If the act is passed, pay rules for members of the military accused of violent crimes would be closer to those of federal employees. Those employees’ pay is typically suspended while they are accused.
“This bill brings that same basic fairness to situations where military personnel commit violent crimes,” Griffin said.
The proposed change to military justice rules would suspend the pay for soldiers accused of rape, sexual assault or capital offenses, according to a news release.
However, it does provide waivers for military defendants who are able to provide reasonable proof they may be wrongfully accused, Griffin said.
The co-sponsor of the bill is Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. Wolf was unreachable for comment Wednesday.
Hasan hearing today
Maj. Nidal Hasan will be back in a Fort Hood courtroom today for a pretrial hearing. The presiding judge is expected to rule upon previously litigated matters and may take up new issues.
It is one of three hearings scheduled before testimony begins in Hasan’s capital murder trial on Aug. 6. If convicted, Hasan could face the death penalty.
Check online at kdhnews.com throughout the day for updates.