Senator Bertino-Tarrant: Strip Hastert of public pensions

Dennis Hastert

“I don’t want taxpayers’ dollars providing a retirement to this predator.”

PLAINFIELD— Illinois State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said Thursday that former U.S. House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert is a disgrace to teachers and lawmakers and should be stripped of all taxpayer-funded pensions from past jobs.

“I don’t want taxpayers’ dollars providing a retirement to this predator,” Bertino-Tarrant said. She sent a letter Thursday to the General Assembly Retirement System asking that it immediately take steps to suspend and revoke Hastert’s public pension benefits.

On Wednesday, Hastert was sentenced to 15 months in prison for bank fraud stemming from efforts to cover up sex abuse dating back to his time as a teacher in Yorkville. Hastert later went on to serve in the Illinois General Assembly before being elected to Congress and rising to become the powerful U.S. House Speaker. He had qualified for pension benefits for his tenure as a teacher, state lawmaker and congressman.

Illinois’ Teachers Retirement System canceled Hastert’s pension on Wednesday. However, the General Assembly system has not. Media reports have put his state lawmaker pension at roughly $28,000 annually.

Bertino-Tarrant said taxpayers have no duty to provide retirement benefits to someone who betrayed them and victimized children.

“Knowing what we know now, he would have been fired and jailed decades ago and would have lost his teacher’s pension and never had the chance to be a lawmaker, let alone get a pension. We have a chance to set the record straight. We should do so immediately as part of the effort to restore the public’s trust,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

Her letter to the General Assembly Retirement System is here.