Former Rep. Cravaack gave big raises on his way out the door

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Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., doled out some generous raises just before he left office, following an election loss last year, the Star Tribune reports.

It's not uncommon for lawmakers, especially lame-duck legislators on their way out the door, to give staff raises. Staffers whose bosses lose are typically out of a job then, too.

But Cravaack gave out parachute pay-hikes that were some of the largest in Congress last year, the Star Tribune reports. For the first three quarters of 2012, his staff staff payroll averaged a little over $197,000. In the final three months of the year, it soared to $354,000, an 80 percent increase, the Star Tribune notes.

He defended the raises.

“At the end of the year, I maxed out everybody because I had no idea how long these guys would be out of work,” Cravaack told the newspaper.

An official with a government watchdog group noted the pay raises were taxpayer money, and that congressional staffers accept job losses due to election losses as part of life working on Capitol Hill.

“It’s not his money to say, ‘I’m going to help my people,’ said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste.

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