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Sweet blog special: Why former (now convicted) Gov. Ryan is getting his pension yanked.

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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan won a legal victory on Thursday when a Cook County Circuit Court judge upheld a bid her office made to strip former Gov. George Ryan of his pension following his conviction on corruption charges.

Ryan has not yet started serving his sentence.

For the Madigan release, click below...


Chicago – The Circuit Court of Cook County today upheld the termination of former Governor George H. Ryan’s full pension.

Following Ryan’s April, 2006 conviction on 18 counts of criminal activity, the General Assembly Retirement System of Illinois (GARS) requested an opinion from Attorney General Madigan regarding the impact of the conviction on the payment of the former Governor’s pension. On September 12, 2006, Attorney General Madigan issued an opinion finding that because “Ryan’s extensive and reprehensible criminal conduct was directly and inherently related to his official duties as Governor and Secretary of State,” his criminal conviction requires the forfeiture of his pension benefits. Madigan also concluded that the Illinois law concerning the forfeiture of pension benefits requires a total forfeiture of all of Ryan’s pension benefits, not merely those that accrued during his terms as Governor and Secretary of State.

Based on this opinion, on September 19, 2006, the GARS’s Board voted to suspend the former Governor’s pension. Ryan appealed the Board’s decision to the Circuit Court of Cook County. In his appeal, Ryan argued that he should not have to forfeit the pension benefits derived from his years of government employment prior to his criminal conduct.

In today’s ruling, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Martin Agran upheld the Board’s decision and concluded that permitting Ryan to retain any pension benefits based on his government employment would allow future participants who engage in criminal conduct while serving in state government to protect their pension from forfeiture by simply changing positions within state government. Judge Agran found that such a result would diminish the deterrent effect of the pension forfeiture provisions in Illinois law.

“Former Governor Ryan breached the public trust, using his positions within state government to engage in widespread criminal conduct,” Madigan said. “Ryan’s actions were exactly the type of misconduct that our pension forfeiture law is designed to discourage. Today’s decision confirms that public officials cannot be allowed to benefit from conduct that directly violates the public trust.”


1 Comment

Thank you for printing the Attorney General's press release. Although, former Gov. Ryan is widely appreciated nationaly for his Northwestern University research inspired death sentence moratorium for Illinois death row inmates, his conviction on all 18 counts of Patrick Fitgerald's criminal indictment shows he was privately woefully corrupt and certainly does not deserve his taxpayer funded state pension. Also, outstanding political commentary this week again on MSNBC's Hardball by the stars Howard Fineman and Lynn Sweet.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 31, 2007 4:24 PM.

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