Illinois State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) recently chief co-sponsored legislation to ban criminals from receiving a taxpayer funded pension. The legislation stems from a loophole which allows elected officials and public employees to still collect a taxpayer funded pension for felony acts which occurred while working for the taxpayers. Illinois legislators from throughout Illinois see the need to close this outrageous loophole.

“I was outraged to learn that criminals continue to receive a taxpayer funded pension after pleading guilty for an act they committed while serving the taxpayers,” said Rep. Kay. “Rewarding elected officials with a pension after they admittedly broke the law while serving the taxpayers should be stopped. Criminals should not be allowed to collect a taxpayer funded pension.”

In Chicago, a legislator pleaded guilty in July to mail fraud for diverting money from a scholarship fund she created. The Chicago legislator, Illinois State Representative Connie Howard continues to receive her lucrative legislative pension while awaiting sentencing, which is now more than an entire year after resigning from her post. Howard continues to receive $4,750 a month from the taxpayers until a federal judge sentences her on Nov. 21. In the Metro East, former Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon plead guilty for bid-rigging. According to reports from the Belleville News Democrat prior to Bathon’s guilty plea, from 2006 to 2009 the average interest rate a property owner paid to a tax buyer was 18%, sparking allegations that the process in place at the time was rigged and unfair to property owners.

House Bill 3665 amends the Illinois Pension Code to provide that if a member or participant of a pension fund or retirement system established under the Code is convicted of, or pleads guilty to, intimidation by a public official, bribery, official misconduct, engaging in kickbacks, fraudulently obtaining public moneys reserved for a disadvantaged business enterprise, or certain theft offenses, then none of the benefits that are provided for under the Code and that are attributable to the service of that person shall be paid.

Rep. Kay added, “this loophole which allows criminals to receive a taxpayer funded pension should be closed. We must set a standard that Illinois will not tolerate nor reward corrupt politicians.”

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