Blagojevich unlikely to get state pension

Dec. 8, 2011 at 6:05 PM
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for corruption, probably won't receive his $65,000 state pension, officials said.

But the Chicago Tribune reported he likely will receive a federal pension for the six years he served as a member of Congress.

That's because the corruption -- which was prosecuted as a federal crime -- occurred when he was governor, not when he was a congressman, the Tribune said.

The General Assembly Retirement System decided in October to temporarily stop payments to newly convicted ex-state officials because Blagojevich could be eligible to begin collecting when he turns 55 Saturday.

In the past, the pension system had typically awaited an attorney general's opinion after a politician's sentencing to determine whether any of the crimes were linked to official state duties.

Payments will be stopped before they could start for Blagojevich, said Tim Blair, who oversees the state pension system for retired lawmakers and statewide officials.

Blair had asked Attorney General Lisa Madigan to review Blagojevich's pension soon after he was sentenced Wednesday, and a spokeswoman said Madigan's office would respond as soon as possible.

Blagojevich, a Democrat, would still get a refund of approximately $128,000 for personal contributions he made to the retirement fund in his four years as a state legislator and six years as governor.

And at age 62, his federal pension would be about $15,000, officials said.

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