How much is a U.S. Senate seat worth?

With allegations that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. or a surrogate obstensively operating on his behalf, offered the Democratic Governor of Illinois $1 Million dollars to be appointed to fill Obama’s vacant senate seat, the question must arise.  How much is a U.S. Senate Seat worth?  Is $1 Million dollars a “fair price”?

Club for Growth runs some numbers.

First, Senators make a base salary of $167,100. Assuming a person joined the Senate at age 44 and stayed for two terms, and adjusted for 2% inflation with a 2.7% discount rate (10-year treasury), the net present value would be ~$1.9 million.

But membership in the Senate carries more than just a salary. After two terms in the upper chamber, a retiring Senator can become a well-paid lobbyist. Assuming a very conservative base salary (in today’s numbers) of $318,362, a Senator-turned-lobbyist could make ~$4.5 million over another 12 years.

But that’s not all, Senators are given a lifetime pension starting at age 62. The average annual pension is currently $60,972. If payments started in 18 years and continued until death at 84, the total amount received would be ~$1.8 million.

If you discount everything back to today, the net present value of the Senate seat would be ~$6.2 million.

With the Jackson family history of ‘public service’ why am I not surprised to discover that Jesse Jackson Jr., of all people, would be accused to trying to bribe or cajole his way into the U.S. Senate?  I’m Shocked.  Shocked, I tell you!

About Paul R. Ferro

Paul R. Ferro is Senior Editor at The 9th registered user of, Paul has been with RMG from it's inception. He's also a former 4-term Marlborough City Councilor and currently serves as Chairman of the Marlborough Republican City Committee. You can follow him on twitter @PaulFerro