Thursday, Sep 27, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller
* The Tribune ran an editorial this week entitled “Mr. Madigan’s bill, Ms. Purkey’s pension.” It was regarding an earlier Trib story…
A former lobbyist for a powerful teachers union is reaping a $100,000-a-year state pension thanks to wide-ranging retirement legislation sponsored nearly six years ago by her former boss, House Speaker Michael Madigan, and his legislative allies.
The 2007 law let Gail Purkey, who worked at two state jobs in the 1980s, receive a state pension based mostly on her long career and six-figure salary with the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Tribune has found.
* From the editorial…
So let’s reflect on three facts that may or may not be related to Democratic lawmakers’ desire to take kind care of IFT personnel during the lame-duck legislative session after the 2006 general election. According to an analysis for the Tribune by Kent Redfield, a campaign finance expert from the University of Illinois at Springfield:
• The IFT had contributed about $567,000 to Madigan, the state Democratic chairman, and his rank-and-file candidates. Democratic victories assured Madigan’s continued role as speaker.
• The IFT had contributed about $388,000 to Senate Democrats, and their victories kept Senate President Emil Jones in charge of that chamber.
• The IFT had contributed more than $515,000 to Rod Blagojevich, who had been re-elected governor.
What can you do about this?
If your legislators were in office six years ago, be sure to ask each one how he or she voted on this pension bill.
* Not mentioned in either the editorial or the news article are some inconvenient facts.
First of all, Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson became a co-sponsor of the bill after it cleared the House on a 109-6 vote. Leader Watson’s co-sponsorship likely meant the bill passed the Senate with a nearly unanimous 55-0-1 vote.
House GOP Leader Tom Cross voted for the bill as well.
So, if this was some grand Democratic conspiracy, then the Republicans were either complicit or ignorant. And I’m not sure how they could’ve been ignorant if they’d even skimmed the bill synopsis…
Provides that an individual who represents or is employed as an officer or employee of a statewide labor organization that represents members of the State Employees’ Retirement System of Illinois may participate in the System and shall be deemed an employee under specified circumstances