Editorial: Lawmakers Squeeze Pensions for Felons
La Grange Park Suburban Life
June 23, 2011
By Suburban Life Publications
Western suburbs — It’s unfathomable that members of Congress would need to debate the merits of permitting their colleagues who are convicted felons to receive government pensions.
After all, they’ve violated the very laws they swore to uphold upon taking office. Why should they receive a penny more from a process they’ve subverted?
But, then again, we are talking about Congress. There are more than a few things that federal legislators do that simply don’t make sense.
“The financial burden placed on taxpayers from political scandals and public corruption is tremendous, something Illinois residents know all too well,” U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-14th District, of Winfield said in a recent news release. “Currently, more than $800,000 per year is paid out to convicted felons for their congressional pensions, including the congressional pension of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.”
To have any money at all paid to convicted felons for congressional pensions is absolutely outrageous. Hultgren joined U.S. Reps. Dan Lipinski, D-3rd District, of Western Springs and Peter Roskam, R-6th District, of Wheaton in co-sponsoring a bill designed to stop this practice.
House Resolution 2162, also called the Congressional Integrity and Pension Forfeiture Act of 2011, is a bill that has been pursued by U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., for several years. He first began pursuing this legislation while a member of the House.
It’s shameful that after several years, legislators are still wrestling with this issue. What in the world is the problem? Lawmakers such as Blagojevich should not profit from a system they have been convicted of distorting.
We commend our local legislators for joining their colleagues in advancing the measure this far. Other members of Congress should get with the program and push this through. It’s a no-brainer that convicted felons shouldn’t have their retirements financed by taxpayers who follow the laws and pay the bills.
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