Croci looks to close pension loophole for corrupt lawmakers

State Sen. Tom Croci is trying to close a loophole that allows former lawmakers convicted of corruption to collect taxpayer-funded pensions.

There is a loophole in state law that allows former lawmakers convicted of political corruption to collect their taxpayer funded pensions.

There is a loophole in state law that allows former lawmakers convicted of political corruption to collect their taxpayer funded pensions. (2/12/16)

ALBANY - State Sen. Tom Croci is trying to close a loophole that allows former lawmakers convicted of corruption to collect taxpayer-funded pensions.

Croci introduced a bill that would revoke the pension of officials convicted of crimes related to their job.

“I have proposed a very wide, sweeping bill, which would cover the governor to the Legislature, all the way down to county elected officials, towns, villages and senior appointed individuals who are in policy positions statewide,” Croci told News 12 Long Island.

In order for the pension revocation proposal to become law, the state Legislature would have to approve it both this year and next year, since it requires a change in the state's constitution.

Another proposal being debated in Albany would limit the way elected officials can spend their campaign contributions, whether the donations were made by individual residents or businesses. Right now, elected officials can use campaign funds to pay for lawyers if they're arrested or sued for incidents involving their political job.  Records show former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre used $762,000 in campaign contributions for his recent legal defense. Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver spent nearly $3 million in donations on his lawyers. Both men were convicted.

Assemblyman Charles Lavine is sponsoring a bill that would block politicians from using campaign funds for a legal defense.

“Those contributions are made in connection with their elections,” says Lavine. “They're not designed to help people defend themselves against criminal charges.”

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