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No pensions for felons

Felons forfeit their right to public pensions. Duh. That’s obvious to any right-thinking person. But the case of former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge explains why Illinois legislators just passed a bill clarifying that point.

Burge was convicted in 2010 of obstruction of justice and lying about torturing police suspects and served time in federal prison. Still, the Chicago Police Pension Board allowed him to collect a lifetime pension of about $54,000 annually. Incredibly, the board somehow concluded that Burge’s conviction was not work-related. Outrageous? Most people thought so.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan went to court to intervene, but alas, the state Supreme Court concluded she didn’t have the authority. Well, now the attorney general will have the authority, assuming the bill is signed into law.

The state can’t go backward, and there’s nothing to do about Burge’s pension, distasteful as it is. But it’s some consolation to know that lawmakers have taken steps to prevent future outrages like this.