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Should ousted lawmakers go on unemployment?

March 11, 2010 | 12:10 pm

Seeking benefits 

Here's a political scenario voters probably never consider: Politician loses election. Politician, technically, becomes "unemployed." Politician collects unemployment benefits.

As our colleague Patrick McGreevy reported this week, it really happened in Rosemead, one of the many suburbs of greater Los Angeles. The councilman in question was John Nunez. When he lost a reelection bid in March 2009, he began to collect state unemployment benefits, covered by the city. As McGreevy writes:

The city challenged the claim and sought reimbursement, but the state Employment Development Department sent a letter Feb. 25 saying that the city was on the hook for the money.

And how much did he collect? $11,250. Nice work if you can get it.

State law prohibits office-holders from receiving unemployment benefits, but apparently there's some confusion over whether the law applies only to state officials or all elected officials. There's now new legislation to clarify the law, as McGreevy notes in his full report.

-- Steve Padilla

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Photo: Information on unemployment benefits posted outside a state office in Livonia, Mich. Credit: Bloomberg.

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