There's no doubt that Fred Bathon cheated delinquent taxpayers while he served as Madison County treasurer. In February he pleaded guilty to doing so.
His crime will cost him his $90,000 annual public pension.
But unfortunately, not yet.
Illinois law allows Bathon to keep collecting $7,506 a month while he awaits sentencing. Maybe that's why Bathon is so eager to cooperate with federal prosecutors -- so they will keep pushing back his sentencing date and he can continue to build up his bank account. So far sentencing delays have bought him an extra $45,000 in benefits.
County Board member Jamie Goggin summed it up succinctly: Disgusting.
The big question, of course, is why lawmakers ever set it up this way. Bathon's and other crooks' pensions should end the moment they are convicted or plead guilty.
State Rep. Dwight Kay is co-sponsoring a bill to make a conviction the trigger for cutting off a pension. Politicians on both sides of the aisle should be able to support that change. It's time to stop political crooks like Bathon from ripping off the public more than they already have.