Yep, politicians indicted on corruption charges in Illinois continue to benefit, they get to collect a taxpayer-funded pension while on trial and these trials can take a long time. Take former House Speaker Mike Madigan’s corruption trial, for instance, Madigan’s trial won’t begin until February 1st of next year. That’s why State Representative Amy Elik (R-Fosterburg) filed legislation to suspend a lawmaker’s pension if they are convicted or charged with corruption by federal investigators.
“Lawmakers should be held to a higher standard when it comes to corruption and that’s why I think this taxpayer-funded pension benefit should be suspended so that politicians don’t game the system and delay the outcome just to get more money,” said Rep. Elik. “Suspending pension payments while awaiting the resolution of a case will send a strong message to corrupt politicians that if you break the law, the consequences will be costly.”
According to the Chicago Tribune story released on August 3rd, “former Illinois House speaker’s state pension has risen to nearly $149,000 a year, a more than $63,000 increase since he retired last year…The windfall is the result of both Madigan’s 50-plus years in the House and an often-beneficial state pension formula for lawmakers that Madigan himself helped push through. It also comes as the former Southwest Side lawmaker continues to battle a federal bribery-related case that will likely not see any significant court action until next year.”
Current law requires the retirement system board to take action to remove a pension benefit paid to corrupt public officials upon a guilty verdict or plea. State Representative Amy Elik’s bill (HB 5737) would remove a loophole that allows politicians to continue receiving their pension payments while awaiting the outcome of their case. This ensures that corrupt politicians won’t be incentivized to delay their case in order to collect the taxpayer-funded pension.
Rep. Elik added, “My bill will take away the pension benefit offered to politicians while awaiting the outcome of their trial so that no perks are offered to a politician when they are found guilty in a court of law for corruption.”