Reality Check: Taxpayers To Pay Pensions Of Convicted Lawmakers
Wisconsin Taxpayers Pay Entire Pensions Of Lawmakers
Five convicted state lawmakers will still receive every penny of their state pension, WISC-TV reported.
Some states mandate and others states allow for the reduction or complete loss of pensions if a person is convicted of a crime.
But in Wisconsin, there are no such laws, so former lawmakers Scott Jensen, Chuck Chvala, Steve Foti, Bonnie Ladwig and Brian Burke will keep their lucrative retirement deals.
Just how much each will receive is somewhat of a mystery. The exact amount is secret because state law prohibits state pension administrators from discussing anyone's deal, including elected officials.
But, a formula calculator on the state Department of Employee Trust Funds Web site allows anyone to calculate an estimate if you know how much the employee made, how long they worked for state government and their birth date.
A WISC-TV analysis estimate found that former Assembly Speaker Scott Jensen tops the list. When he turns 62, he'll collect at least $1,771 every month until he dies, WISC-TV calculated.
Former state Sen. Chuck Chvala and former Rep. Steve Foti both served 21 years in the legislature and are in line for roughly $1,759 a month once they reach retirement.
Convicted former Sen. Brian Burke is estimated to get $1,078 a month. He served in the legislature from 1989 to 2002.
And Bonnie Ladwig, a former Assemblywoman, might already be collecting $945 a month. She's eligible to receive payments because she's 66 years old.
Seventeen states have laws allowing the loss of taxpayer-funded pensions, WISC-TV reported. Wisconsin isn't one of them. Some states cut off the entire pension. Other states only cut the taxpayer-funded portion.
In Wisconsin, taxpayers pay for the entire pension of state lawmakers. Some pensions require an employee contribution, but that's not the case for state legislators.
West Bend Sen. Tom Reynolds introduced a bill this session to require state elected officials to kick in part of the contribution.
The bill would require 1.5 percent of payroll to be paid by employees. The state would still be funding most of the contribution. The bill would also allow the public to see the details of pension plans for elected officials.
That bill had no co-sponsors and failed without a vote.
Reynolds says he'll re-introduce the bill next session.
To read more about Wisconsin politics, visit WISC-TV's Colin Benedict's brand new blog.
- May 16, 2006: Jensen Gets Prison Time In Corruption Scandal
- May 15, 2006: Chvala Sent To Home Detention
- May 12, 2006: Jensen Says He'll Appeal Guilty Conviction
- May 12, 2006: Jensen Supporters Ask Judge To Spare Ex-Lawmaker Prison Time
- May 9, 2006: Prosecutors Want Jensen To Spend Year And A Half In Prison
- April 26, 2006: Former Majority Leader Is Back At Capitol
- April 16, 2006: Foti Goes To Jail
- April 13, 2006: Aide Says He Deleted Jensen E-Mails After Legislator Resigned
- April 11, 2006: State Supreme Court Suspends Chvala's Law License
- March 27, 2006: Foti Sentenced To 60 Days In Jail
- March 26, 2006: Chvala Could Face More Fines
- March 21, 2006: Jensen Gives Up Assembly Seat
- March 16, 2006: Doyle: No Special Election For Jensen's Seat
- March 14, 2006: Party Officials: Schultz To Leave GOP Job
- March 13, 2006: Jensen To Resign Seat In Legislature
- March 13, 2006: Jensen Jury Foreman Calls Experience Intense
- March 13, 2006: Jensen Now Faces Up To 16 Years In Prison
- March 12, 2006: Rep. Black Calls For Ethics Legislation
- March 12, 2006: Jensen Found Guilty On All Counts
- March 11, 2006: Jensen Trial: Jury Deliberations Continue
- March 10, 2006: Political Whistle-Blower Waits For Jensen Verdict
- March 10, 2006: Jensen Trial: Jury Gets Case, Heads Home
- March 9, 2006: Jensen Trial: Closing Arguments Finishing Up Thursday Afternoon
- March 8, 2006: Closing Arguments Coming In Jensen Trial
- March 8, 2006: Jensen Says He Didn't Know Workers Were Campaigning
- March 7, 2006: Jensen Takes The Stand
- March 7, 2006: Jensen's Former Employees Defend Old Boss
- March 3, 2006: Foti Testifies; Prosecution Rests In Jensen Trial
- March 3, 2006: Former Assembly Leader Testifies Against Jensen
- March 2, 2006: Former Aide: Jensen Was A 'Hands-Off' Boss
- March 1, 2006: Jensen Trial: Prosecutors Focus On Former GOP Aide
- February 28, 2006: Jensen Staffer Says She Handled Campaign Work
- February 27, 2006: Ex-ARC Director: Jensen Told State Workers To Do Campaign Work
- February 24, 2006: Whistleblower Takes Stand In Jensen Trial
- February 24, 2006: Jensen Trial: Ex-Employee Testifies About Campaign Work On State Time
- February 23, 2006: Jensen Trial: Artist Tells Of Working For Candidates
- February 22, 2006: Elections Chief Testifies In Jensen Trial
- February 21, 2006: Jury Selected In Jensen Trial
- February 21, 2006: Juror Dispute Arises In Jensen Trial
- February 20, 2006: Jensen Trial To Begin Tuesday
- February 13, 2006: Chvala Processed Into Dane County Jail
- February 3, 2006: Judge Refuses To Toss Charges Against Jensen, Aide
- February 3, 2006: Jensen Makes Court Appearance On Friday
- February 1, 2006: Jensen: Democrats Had Aides Campaign On State Time
- February 1, 2006: Chvala Challenges Restitution Recommendation
- January 13, 2006: Former Lawmaker Strikes Plea Deal
- January 12, 2006: Foti Expected To Change Plea In Corruption Scandal
- January 4, 2006: Judge Declines To Move Jensen's Trial
- December 29, 2005: Former State Lawmaker Pleads Guilty
- December 16, 2005: Chvala Sentenced To Jail, Probation
- December 15, 2005: Chvala Sentenced To 9 Months In Jail
- December 15, 2005: Chuck Chvala Timeline
- December 15, 2005: Chvala To Be Sentenced Thursday Morning
- December 15, 2005: Chvala Case Article Archive
- December 8, 2005: Chvala Asks For No Jail Time
- December 6, 2005: Prosecutors Ask For Jail Time For Chvala
- October 26, 2005: Chvala Pleads Guilty To Two Felony Counts
- October 25, 2005: Former Senator Pleads Guilty
- October 24, 2005: Former State Senator To Enter Plea
- July 13, 2004: Under The Dome: Alleged Internet Smear Campaign
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