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Former Congressman John Salazar is a “firm believer” in the idea that you compensate people for their job, and that means giving the occasional bonus. Though the Democrat lost his re-election bid last year to Republican Scott Tipton, he dished out nearly $100,000 in bonuses to his employees (between $1,000 and $8,000 each), including some who also worked on his campaign (Denver Post). While Congresswoman Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat, also gave sizable bonuses to some staffers, other members of the state’s delegation—former Representative Betsy Markey and Representatives Mike Coffman and Jared Polis—provided no noteworthy cash perks.
Salazar’s generosity has caught the eye of the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, a government watchdog group. “This is the taxpayers’ money,” says Bill Allison, the group’s editorial director. “It’s not something a member should be spending.” Salazar, now Colorado’s commissioner of agriculture, says he won’t run for Congress again, although there were rumors he’d re-challenge Tipton back in December.