ATLANTA -- Georgia state Rep. Jason Spencer (R - 180th Dist., Woodbine), is under fire for his nationally televised appearance this week, where he was seen baring his butt and shouting racial slurs, is facing increasing calls to resign.
If he does not resign, just how much money will he make?
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said he was "saddened and disgusted" by Spencer's behavior. Republican gubernatorial candidate Casey Cagle called for Spencer's immediate resignation on Monday morning.
"Even though his constituents wisely defeated him at the ballot box in the May primary, his term runs through the end of the year," Cagle said in a statement on Monday. "He has no business drawing a paycheck from taxpayers one more day."
Legislators in both houses of the General Assembly draw an annual salary of $17,342, plus a per diem of $173 per day when they are conducting state business. As a result, each state lawmaker makes an average of about $24,000, though this number can increase substantially for committee chairs and others conduct significant business outside of the 40-day legislative calendar.
Based on this information, as of Tuesday, July 24, 2018, with 159 days remaining in 2018, Spencer is eligible to receive about $7,554 of his legislative salary over the remaining months of the year.
When contacted by 11Alive News on Tuesday, the office of House Speaker David Ralston said the cost of a called special session specifically to address Spencer and his remaining days in the House would be somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000.
“A legislator must complete a full eight years (four terms) to be eligible for legislative retirement and benefits,” Ralston’s spokesperson said.
So, if Spencer serves out the rest of his term, he’ll be eligible for lifetime health benefits and a legislative retirement package.
The televised segment aired on comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's Showtime series "Who Is America?" and showed Spencer yelling the "n-word" multiple times and baring his buttocks during a so-called "anti-terror exercise" that Spencer participated in with a disguised Cohen.
Cohen, best known to American audiences for his parody character Borat, was portraying an Israeli anti-terror expert during Sunday night's episode. Over the course of the segment, Cohen persuaded Spencer to participate in what the lawmaker apparently thought was anti-terror training.
The so-called training exercise included a segment with Spencer "pretending to be Chinese" so he could take an upskirt photo of a Muslim woman to see if it was actually a male terrorist. During another portion of the "training," Cohen got Spencer to repeatedly yell the "n-word" and drop his pants on camera after telling him that by doing so, it would intimidate terrorists.
In a post-credits segment, Spencer once again yelled the "n-word" into the camera, this time using a form of the slur that is specifically offensive to Arabic persons.
Prior to the episode's airing, Spencer issued a statement saying that he had been tricked into participating in the segment.
"The makers of this film fraudulently induced me in participating in bogus self-defense and anti-terrorism training after they learned of the legislation I introduced in November 2016 that provoked death threats against me and my family," Spencer said. "They took advantage of my fears that I would be attacked by someone inspired by the vile rhetoric used against me."
The lawmaker insisted Cohen and the production company's actions were offensive and fraudulent, saying "this media company's deceptive and fraudulent behavior is exactly why President Donald Trump was elected."
Spencer said he planned to take legal action against Cohen and the production company responsible for "Who Is America?"
The four-term Republican was defeated resoundingly in the May primary by GOP newcomer Steven Sainz, 57.9 percent to 42 percent. Sainz will be unopposed in the November general election.