“The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.
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.” US Constitution Article 1 Section 6
Section 6 of the first article of the US Constitution holds some very important clauses impacting how Congress is to conduct itself. Ethnic Americans have always referred to this as the Conflict of Interest Clause because its provisions are aimed specifically at preventing such conflicts and to prevent corruption at the Congressional level.
To ensure that members of the Senate and the House are free from harmful influences, the section provides that members of both chambers of Congress are to be paid out of the US treasury. The provision also provides members of Congress with financial independence from the states they are representing to free them to do what is best for the Union as a whole, rather just their home state. But members of Congress are still beholden to their home states for how they vote.
To protect them from harassment while they doing their jobs and to protect their right to freedom of political debate, the clause specifically that no member of Congress can be arrested or questioned by law enforcement while they are on the floor of the Senate or House and that they may not be stopped for arrest or questioning while enroute to or from their job in the Congress. This would include their offices on Capital Hill. Legal authorities may detain them while they are at home, shopping, at a party or other gathering but not on Capital Hill and not at their official district offices. They are not above the law but the Constitution requires that special care and specific procedures be used if a lawmaker needs to be arrested or questioned for something.
The next clause prohibits members of Congress from holding any other office in the federal and state governments. This was another method used by our ancestors to prevent corruption and conflict of interests. The reason they saw this need was because Congress sets the pay rates for the various federal executive branch positions. It would be a conflict of interest to set the pay rate for Attorney General and then accept an appointment to that post. There has been some question about how this should be interpreted with some administrations being more lenient in their interpretation than others. But the Constitution is pretty clear here, if you voted to set the salary of an executive branch position, you cannot serve in that post for at least a year or preferrably until after the next Congress sets the pay rates for that office for that year. Members of Congress that abstain on such votes may be eligible to be appointed without waiting. The other important thing this does is reinforce the mandatory seperation of Congress from the Executive Branch. Without this important provision the government of the US would rapidly devolve into a parliamentary type system of the kind seen in many subpar and backward nations around the world today.
With regard to those in the military, including reserves and national guard, the strictest and most traditional interpretation requires them to conclude their commitment to the military before they can serve in Congress. In accordance with American culture and traditions you cannot serve in both Congress and the US military because then you are setting your own pay rate and regulating yourself, hence the conflict of interest.
And to highlight that you cannot serve as both a member of the California legislature and as a member of the US Congress and the conflict of interest here is where Congress is voting to give sums of money to the states. This principle is also enshrined in every state constitution through out the US as well.
Also, according to the most faithful interpretation held historically by Ethnic Americans, not only can members of Congress not demand appointment to executive offices, but the President is not allowed to donate to the political campaigns of members of Congress right after those members voted in favor of or against the President’s positions on matter of law, budgets, and nominations. There has to be a six month waiting period between such votes and the time when the contribution, including endorsements, are made.
The thing to bear in mind is that this only applies to members of Congress. There are no similar clauses for the executive or judicial branches and we have had a Chief Justice serve as an ambassador while holding the Chief Justice position. That was at the nation’s founding when no one else who was suitable for the positions could be found.