DiNapoli Seeks Law to Strip Convicted Lawmakers of Pensions

 

By Cara Matthews

ALBANY -- Public officials convicted of corruption would be stripped of their pension benefit under legislation introduced Friday by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

New York has long been criticized for allowing convicted lawmakers -- even those sentenced to prison -- to collect their public pensions. But the state constitution prohibits reducing or taking away benefits from any current official or public servant.

DiNapoli's proposal would skirt the constitutional issue in that it would apply only to future members of the New York State and Local Retirement System who are state or local elected officials, officers and appointees...

...Under a bill sponsored by Sen. Liz Krueger, D-Manhattan, a district attorney could bring a state Supreme Court action against a current or retired elected official convicted of felony corruption. The basis for the lawsuit would be that the pension amounted to "ill-gotten gains."

The district attorney could seek full or partial forfeiture of the pension, and officials would get back any money they contributed to their pensions...

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