Bertino-Tarrant wants to strip Hastert of public pensions
4/28/2016, 2:36 p.m.
Illinois State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said Thursday that former U.S. House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert is a disgrace to teachers and lawmakers and should be stripped of all taxpayer-funded pensions from past jobs.
“I don’t want taxpayers’ dollars providing a retirement to this predator,” Bertino-Tarrant said. She sent a letter Thursday to the General Assembly Retirement System asking that it immediately take steps to suspend and revoke Hastert’s public pension benefits.
On Wednesday, Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison for bank fraud stemming from efforts to cover up sex abuse dating back to his time as a teacher in Yorkville. Hastert later went on to serve in the Illinois General Assembly before being elected to Congress and rising to become the powerful U.S. House Speaker. He had qualified for pension benefits for his tenure as a teacher, state lawmaker and congressman.
Illinois’ Teachers Retirement System canceled Hastert’s pension on Wednesday. However, the General Assembly system has not. Media reports have put his state lawmaker pension at roughly $28,000 annually.
Bertino-Tarrant said taxpayers have no duty to provide retirement benefits to someone who betrayed them and victimized children.
“Knowing what we know now, he would have been fired and jailed decades ago and would have lost his teacher’s pension and never had the chance to be a lawmaker, let alone get a pension. We have a chance to set the record straight. We should do so immediately as part of the effort to restore the public’s trust,” Bertino-Tarrant said.
Her letter to the General Assembly Retirement System is below:
April 28, 2016
General Assembly Retirement System of Illinois
Attn: Tim Blair
2101 S. Veterans Parkway
Springfield, IL 62704
Dear Mr. Blair,
As I am sure you are aware, former U.S. House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison for bank fraud stemming from his efforts to cover up sexual abuse when he was a teacher in Yorkville.
Mr. Hastert is a predator who harmed the lives of innocent students he was entrusted to protect. Had the public known about Hastert’s behavior he never would have been elected and therefore never would have received a pension. He does not deserve to continue receiving taxpayer-funded benefits for the time he served as a lawmaker.
I urge you to immediately revoke Hastert’s pension. In light of what we now know about Hastert’s abuse of children and misuse of the public’s trust, the taxpayers should no longer be required to pay for his retirement benefits.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter. I look forward to receiving your response.
State Senator – 49th District