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Declan O'Scanlon

Posted on: September 29, 2023

O’Scanlon to Reintroduce Bill Revoking Public Pensions for Corrupt Officials

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Durr to Join as Co-Prime Sponsor of Legislation.

Senator Declan O'Scanlon announced today that he is reintroducing legislation from 2008 that would revoke public pensions for government officials and employees who are convicted of any crime while in office. Senator Edward Durr (R-3) will sign on as a co-prime sponsor of the bill.

"Senator Menendez has a state pension based of off a $48,000 salary, and if convicted of selling his office for bars of gold, cash, and a Mercedes-Benz, he will collect more than $200,000 in public pension payments over the next 20 years. These payments are funded by taxpayers and rank-and-file public employees alike," said O'Scanlon (R-13). "This is a slap in the face to taxpayers and this reform is long overdue."

Current law allows public officials who are convicted of corruption to continue receiving public pensions. Former Assemblyman Cohen, who was embroiled in convictions related to child pornography in his district office, still collects a State funded pension for his time working for various local government employers. Outrage over this heinous crime served as the impetus for this bill to be first introduced back in 2008.

For years, S-1557 (PDF) had bipartisan support but when all Republican legislators tried to advance the bill unanimously in 2017, Democrats voted to kill each effort on three separate occasions. In fact, some of the Democrats who voted against the bill were co-sponsors of the legislation.

"Our underfunded pension system cannot continue shelling out more cash to crooked politicians who are convicted of bribery and other egregious crimes," Durr explained. "If the Democrat leaders refuse to pass this bill as soon as possible and Senator Menendez is later convicted of bribery, they may as well be held as accomplices to his alleged crimes."

The bill was initially introduced as S-215 by former Senator Jennifer Beck and A-3432 by then-Assemblyman O'Scanlon.

"Democrats have provided nothing but lip service on reforms for the past fifteen years," O'Scanlon concluded. "If this current indictment against the disgraced Senator doesn't get them to finally act, they may as well just admit they support the financial interests of public officials that are convicted of child pornography and bribery over the taxpayers."

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