Illinois House bill would jeopardize Madigan’s $151K pension

Illinois House bill would jeopardize Madigan’s $151K pension

A new bill in the Illinois House calls for suspending the pensions for legislators facing corruption charges. Former House Speaker Michael Madigan, recently indicted for racketeering and bribery, is set to collect $12,600 per month starting in July.

This July, former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s pension benefits will jump 78% to $12,600 per month, but a new House bill is taking aim at it.

In the final days of the legislative session, House Bill 5737 was filed by state Rep. Amy Elik, R-Fosterburg. It would suspend pension benefits for corrupt lawmakers in the months or years before they are found guilty.

“Under current law, Madigan will collect a taxpayer-paid pension until a guilty verdict is reached,” Elik said. “This means Madigan could go on to collect his elected official pension for several years before it’s taken away.”

Current law also allows lawmakers convicted of corruption to run again for office unless it’s an election fraud conviction. Politicians convicted of bribery and racketeering could still legally run for office, but a similar bill aims to change that.

“Corrupt lawmakers should not receive a taxpayer-funded pension if they defrauded the taxpayers while serving themselves in state government,” Elik said. “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.”

Madigan is projected to collect more than $2.9 million but only contributed $351,000 toward his public pension. It will take Madigan three years to collect back 50 years of contributions to the General Assembly Retirement System as a state representative, and from a pension system with so much debt that it contains only 21% of what it eventually must pay out.

Thanks to a pension sweetener no longer allowed for lawmakers, Madigan’s pension payments will jump by $66,000 annually on July 1 to $151,200 and then rise every year unless he’s convicted in the corruption probe. Elik’s bill hasn’t been assigned to a committee; lawmakers only have until April 8 before heading home.

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