Madigan and Solis get a pension because they’re not in jail. That’s a problem with the criminal justice system, not the public pension system.

The so-called Watchdogs at the Chicago Sun-Times ran this breathless report the other day about former state rep, Speaker of the House and Democratic Party chair Michael Madigan receiving his first pension check of $7K and change.

The corrupt alder, Danny Solis, has already collected $170K since leaving the City Council presumably wearing his FBI wire.

I’m suspicious of this concern with their pensions.

Is this an attempt to link pubic pensions with corruption in the minds of the Sun-Times readers?

The problem here is not with the pension system.

The problem is that after years of public corruption, Madigan and Solis are walking free.

The law is clear about this.

Convicted public officials cannot receive their public pension.

By the way, Minnesota does not have a pension forfeiture or garnishment law. Thus, Derek Chauvin, one of the Minneapolis police officers formally charged with killing George Floyd, will be entitled to his full, partially taxpayer-funded, pension benefits when he’s eligible for the benefits—even if convicted of killing Floyd.

That is unacceptable to me.

Illinois does have a pension forfeiture policy. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for example lost his $65,000 annual state pension because he was convicted of felony crimes stemming from his time as governor. As WMAQ reported at the time:

In her 10-page statement (.pdf), [Illinois Attorney General Lisa] Madigan relates Pension Code to the charges with which Blagojevich was ultimately convicted: “None of the benefits herein provided for shall be paid to any person who is convicted of any felony relating to or arising out of or in connection with his or her service as a member,” Section 2-156 of the Pension Code states.

But what about Jon Burge, the CPD commander who was convicted of perjury in the cases of torture committed by Burge and his subordinates?

Burge did receive his cop pension while in prison until the day he died.

In a gross decision by the Illinois Supreme Court in a suit filed by then AG Lisa Madigan, the court ruled that Burge’s crime of purjury was committed after he no longer was a cop and so wasn’t subject to the garnishment.

That was an immoral decision, even if it was legal.

But that is not true for Madigan and Solis.

In both cases their corruption was undeniably committed on the job.

In Illinois, the state with the oldest forfeiture laws dating back to 1955, the Supreme Court has ruled by stating that the policy of pension garnishment was designed for the purpose of “ensuring the public’s right to conscientious service from those in governmental positions.”

The solution is obvious. Indict Madigan, throw him in prison and his pension is forfeited.

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