Madigan: Blagojevich shouldn't get state pension
Ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich should be denied his $65,000-a-year pension because the corruption that is sending him to prison is clearly tied to his position in state government, the Illinois attorney general advised Thursday.
The legal opinion, delivered a day after a federal judge sentenced Blagojevich to 14 years in prison, provided the governor with little leeway if he seeks to challenge the move.
“Blagojevich’s criminal misconduct not only related directly to his official duties as governor but, in fact, involved the exercise of those very duties,” Attorney General Lisa Madigan wrote. “He repeatedly traded on his position as a public servant for his own, unlawful ending, violating the public’s trust.”
The opinion was sent to the General Assembly Retirement System, which will decide whether to deny Blagojevich a pension. He turns 55 on Saturday and would have been able to collect if he hadn’t been convicted. In October, the pension board decided to prevent the payments from getting started, at least temporarily, while it awaited Madigan’s opinion.
Blagojevich was convicted of attempting to shake down a children’s hospital and a racetrack for campaign contributions as well as attempting to trade for personal gain his appointment powers to a U.S. Senate seat left vacant once Barack Obama became president.
Blagojevich is likely to keep a federal pension of around $15,000-a-year from his time as a congressman.