ALBANY, NY (WRGB) — Disgraced former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was back in the news earlier this year amid reports that he might get a Presidential pardon. He didn’t, but that served as reminder that he is still getting a full New York State pension, and it turns out he is not alone.
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You paid the salaries of many corrupt state lawmakers while they abused their offices, and now you pay their pensions – to the tune of almost a million dollars a year.
Here are just a few of the numbers – Silver is behind bars, but collecting a $79,402 yearly pension. Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos is out of prison and under home confinement – he receives a $95,381 annual pension.
Through the Freedom of Information Law we found a total of 19 former lawmakers convicted of crimes and collecting a pension. The grand pension total - $933,312.
Former Assemblyman and State Comptroller Alan Hevesi was convicted of corruption charges and receives a pension of $127,286 a year.
Others doing the same thing include former Senate Majority Leaders Malcolm Smith and Pedro Espada.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are outraged that their corrupt former colleagues are able to collect their pensions. Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) calls it appalling.. Assemblyman Chris Tague (R-Schoharie) says it is a disservice to the taxpayers.
After a vote in the NYS Legislature and a public referendum, the NYS Constitution was amended to allow judges to revoke the pensions of public officials who are convicted of crimes during the course of their public duties. It only pertains to court cases going forward, the 19 convicted lawmakers who are collecting pensions right now will continue to do so.