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No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office. (Constitution Article I, §6, para 2)

My interpretation of this is that a senator, once elected for a six-year term, cannot be appointed to an Executive Branch office during that period, if the office was created or its salary increased since the Senator took office. The obvious rationale for this would be to prevent congressmen creating lavish appointments for themselves and then transferring into them.

The Attorney General is a Level I position; the salary for which (along with those of what looks like most/all of the Executive Branch) was increased to $205,000 in January 2016. A similar increase also took place in January 2015; I presume it's an annual occurrence.

Sessions began his Senate term in January 2014, and it extends until 2020. Why is he, as a sitting senator, allowed to take up the AG office prior to 2020?

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    Sitting Congress critters resign their seat to accept a cabinet position. The wording seems to imply that they are ineligible for six years after becoming a Senator. But I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that since this is routinely done, there must be an official interpretation that resigning their seat complies with the law. – user11810 Feb 8 '17 at 14:18
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    I understand that they have to resign their congressional seat in order to take up the office, per the last clause "and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office". I'm more interested in the six-year thing. – Stephen Feb 8 '17 at 14:26
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    Senators being moved up to cabinet posts is actually pretty common. Obvious recent examples are Clinton and Kerry, who were both Senators before becoming Sec of State – David says Reinstate Monica Feb 8 '17 at 14:44
  • That just means they can't do both jobs at the same time. – Matthew Whited Feb 9 '17 at 15:09
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    @MatthewWhited: The wording of this particular paragraph seems to be interested in a lot more than that, as the OP points out. – Lightness Races with Monica Feb 9 '17 at 15:12
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Your reading is more or less correct. However, you didn't know that the Senate and House will simply pass the "the Saxbe" fix.

In the past, Congress has gotten around this by passing a resolution cutting the salary for the office at stake back to what it was before the nominee’s most recent election.

This became known as the “Saxbe fix,” after it was used to facilitate President Richard M. Nixon’s appointment of Senator William Saxbe of Ohio as attorney general. It happened most recently 16 years ago when incoming President Bill Clinton made Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas his treasury secretary.

When the Saxbe fix was used for Hillary Clinton, who had the same problem, there was some debate over whether it would be valid, due to the timing of when the raise by the Executive Branch took effect compared to exactly when Clinton resigned from the Senate and when her term of service began at the State Dept. The Constitutionality has nothing whatsoever to do with Clinton's personal actions and these particulars would hold for others too if the timing was similar.

To sum up, Congress may be applying a workaround that's sort of bogus, but the precedent has been set and they are sticking to it rather than passing legislation that would clarify alternative interpretations of the emoluments clause.

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    Interesting how nobody thought it was a problem for 3 decades until Clinton tried to do it. – T.E.D. Feb 8 '17 at 20:22
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    @T.E.D. No it happens all the time. – K Dog Feb 8 '17 at 20:32
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    @KDog Then why did you single out Clinton specifically? – Philipp Feb 8 '17 at 20:53
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    @Philipp because there were some particulars of the Clinton case, that the article linked to don't do a great job of distinguishing btw so it is hard to see if they apply generally or not, that arguments are that the Saxbe fix shouldn't be used given the ambiguity of the point of time definition. Maybe they apply to Sessions too, making this fix less definitive. – K Dog Feb 8 '17 at 21:05
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    @Philipp In other words, the Congress may be applying a workaround that's sort of bogus, but the precedent has been set and they are sticking to it. – K Dog Feb 8 '17 at 21:09
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My interpretation of this is that a senator, once elected for a six-year term, cannot be appointed to an Executive Branch office during that period,

Your reading is correct.

But that doesn't prevent Sessions, or any Senator for that matter, from resigning his/her seats before s/he takes on the new job.

Which countless other politicians (e.g. Clinton and Kerry)from both parties have done, with no objection as to their eligibility.

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    Will Sessions' salary be less than that of his fellow cabinet members who were not previously senators? – DJohnM Feb 8 '17 at 14:45
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    @dannyf It is nice that you finally start to add links to your answers, but please try to find links which actually support your claims. Instead of just linking to the Wikipedia articles of the persons involved, please at least link to the subsection of the article which is relevant to your answer. When there is no appropriate subsection, then the link might not actually be relevant to back up the claims in your answer. – Philipp Feb 8 '17 at 16:01
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    @Philipp It looks like the links were added by a different user, based on the edit history. – IllusiveBrian Feb 8 '17 at 16:13
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    @Philipp Yep, that was me. Was trying to show they both have Senator and Sec of State on their resume – David says Reinstate Monica Feb 8 '17 at 22:28
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    "that doesn't prevent Sessions, or any Senator for that matter, from resigning his/her seats before s/he takes on the new job." Whether they resign is irrelevant; they were elected for a six-year term, so the paragraph applies for six years. The point of the paragraph is explained in the question above. The accepted answer explains how it is conventionally worked around. – Lightness Races with Monica Feb 9 '17 at 15:14
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Regarding the pay increase, the increases from 2015 and 2016 were both Executive Orders based on the links you provided, not acts of Congress. The bills creating the various agencies presumably give the President the authority to make cost of living adjustments to the salary of the position, but regardless unless the Attorney General position's salary was changed by Congress since he took office, he has never voted on the position's "Emoluments."

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    Voting is not a criteria for the emolument clause. -1 – K Dog Feb 8 '17 at 15:15
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Other answers are missing an important part of the sentence structure.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Because the office of the Atty General was not CREATED during the Time for which he was elected he is eligible.

If President Trump with the Congress CREATED a NEW cabinet post (Secretary of Funny Walks) no sitting member of Congress would be eligible for that post, until their present term had expired.

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    Created or had its emoulements (i.e. salary) increased. It doesn't just cover new offices. – cpast Feb 9 '17 at 20:04
  • @cpast The emoluments clause was adequately covered above with the reference to the Saxbe fix. Others still referenced the fact that they must resign before taking office (can't to both at once). But in the subsequent comments OP says ...I'm more interested in the six-year thing along with other comments led me to believe that clarifying the "Created" clause was a positive contribution to the question at hand. – Cos Callis Feb 9 '17 at 21:08
  • in that, you were wrong. – hobbs Feb 10 '17 at 7:45

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