50 Senators Lost Speech Income in ’84 : Average Decline of $28,128 Was Result of Self-Imposed Limit

Associated Press

Fifty U.S. senators lost an average $28,128 in income last year as a result of a self-imposed limit on the amount of money a member can take home from the lucrative speech-making circuit.

The losses ranged from a high of $107,288 for Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) to a low of $70 for Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.).

The earnings drop resulted from a decision the Senate reluctantly made in mid-1983 to follow the House’s lead and limit the amount of so-called honorariums members can keep from making speeches and writing articles.

The limit is 30% of senators’ official salary of $72,600, or a maximum of $21,780 last year, with a requirement that any money over the limit be given to charity.


As a result, 1984 was a relatively lean year for the Senate’s most active speakers and a bumper one for their favorite charities, according to a review of financial disclosure statements filed by members earlier this month.

12 Exceeded Salaries

In the limit-free year of 1983, 12 senators had honorariums exceeding their official salaries. Last year, only Lugar and Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) took in more from making speeches than from lawmaking.

Dole continued to be the highest honorarium earner in 1984 at $112,094, but to get under the limit he gave $91,079 to charities, including $10,000 to the Dole Foundation. In 1983, he kept nearly $107,000 of the $187,400 he received.


Lugar kept $129,065 of the $132,450 he got in 1983. Under the limit last year, he collected $81,850 in speech fees but gave $60,073 to charities, leaving a net personal income loss of $107,288 from 1983 to 1984.

Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) reported honorariums totaling $106,879--with no charitable contributions--in 1983. He has yet to file his 1984 statement, but staying within the limit would mean an income loss of $85,099.

Other big net losers last year were Jake Garn (R-Utah), $78,040; Dave Durenberger (R-Minn.), $71,970; Alfonse M. D’Amato (R-N.Y.), $68,570; Charles McC. Mathias (R-Md.), $63,145; Paul Laxalt (R-Nev.), $56,850; J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.), $55,990; Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), $51,929, and Lowell P. Weicker (R-Conn.), $51,150.