When Kathleen Peters' campaign sent out an email last week under the heading of "C.W. Bill Young II," Beverly Young says she was outraged.
(USA TODAY) - The widow of Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., could receive $174,000 as part of the $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through October.
Congressional negotiators included the funds for Beverly Young in the 1,600-page "omnibus" spending bill unveiled on Monday night. Her husband, who passed away in October at the age of 82, was the longest-serving House Republican at the time of his death and a past chairman of the Appropriations Committee that allocates federal spending.
The one-time payment - equivalent to one year's salary for rank-and-file lawmakers - has become customary for congressional widows and widowers, and is considered a gift.
But the practice drew scrutiny last year, when another stopgap spending bill included $174,000 for Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, the widow of a New Jersey senator. Frank Lautenberg, who died last June, was one of the richest men in the U.S. Senate, with a net worth of at least $56.8 million in 2012.
Bill Young, who was first elected to Congress in 1970, was not among the millionaires who dominate the House and Senate. His net worth in 2012 was estimated to be between $266,000 and $565,000, according to financial disclosure reports kept by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Voters on Tuesday are going to the polls in Florida's 13th Congressional District to pick their nominees for the special election to succeed Young. Beverly Young has endorsed David Jolly, the congressman's former top aide, over state Rep. Kathleen Peters and Mark Bircher and for the GOP nomination.
Alex Sink, a former Florida chief financial officer and the 2010 Democratic nominee for governor, is running unopposed for her party's nomination.