House approves bill to strip pensions from future impeached officials

State Capitol Bureau

Impeached elected officials would have to give up their pensions, under a plan moving forward at the state Capitol. But Rod Blagojevich doesn't have to worry.

The House voted 106-4 today for House Bill 377, pushed by several Democrats who face tough election fights for election and re-election.

The measure would bar anyone impeached and removed from office by the legislature from collecting their state pension benefits. Blagojevich fits that profile after his removal in late January.

But because of constitutional concerns, the measure would only affect officials once it becomes law - so Blagojevich is safe.

Rep. Keith Farnham, the Elgin Democrat pushing the idea, says it's important to send a message that officials are working hard to restore public faith in government and its leaders.

 "We need to stand up and say enough is enough and that we won't allow this sort of thing," Farnham said.

But critics such as Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, R-Des Plaines, say it's simply a ploy designed to give Democrats political cover without really doing much to clean up government.

"It's a way of the Democrats distancing themselves from a really bad person," Mulligan said. "I don't think it is the right way to do it, and I think it is a stunt."

The measure now moves to the Senate.

State Capitol Bureau