Constitution May Sink Hillary's State Chance

Lawmakers can't take federal post for which their Congress raised the salary
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2008 12:35 PM CST
Clinton flanked by New York State Gov. David Paterson and fellow Sen. Charles Schumer.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Should Barack Obama nominate Hillary Clinton for secretary of state, the confirmation process could be the least of her worries, the Washington Post reports. The Constitution prohibits any member of Congress from assuming a federal post whose salary has been increased during the lawmaker’s term; cabinet salaries have risen by about $15,000 since Clinton’s current term began.

Presidents have finessed this rule before, most notably Richard Nixon, who asked Congress to lower the wage of the attorney general so Sen. William Saxbe could assume the office in 1973. Robert Byrd is the only senator still serving of 10 who voted against Nixon’s “Saxbe Fix,” saying then, “we should not delude the American people into thinking a way can be found around the constitutional obstacle.”