Forfeiture of the pension portion of the retirement allowance of a public officer found guilty of corruption in public office suggested during Moreland Commission hearing
Among the suggestion made to the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption in the course of its first hearing concerning allegations of corruption on the part of public officials was that such official found guilty of violating their oath of office forfeit their membership in their public retirement system.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bjharara testified that a “show-me-the-money culture … appears rampant … and the ranks of those convicted in office have swelled to absolutely unacceptable level.”
It was reported that Mr. Biharara’s office had earlier filed a motion to include “pensions” paid by a public retirement system of the State as part of the property that convicted officials would have to forfeit.
Bills have been introduced in the State Legislature to this end but have yet to be passed and signed into law.
For example, in 2007 Member of the Assembly Burling introduced such a measure, Assembly Bill 6493, that provided that public officers convicted of a felony related to the abuse of his or her office shall forfeit their state pension. The bill was never reported out of the Governmental Operations Committee.
In 2013 Member of the Assembly DiPietro introduced a similar bill, Assembly 6464. This bill would amend public officers law by adding a new section, §74-b, to read as follows:
§74-b Felony convictions of public officers. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the conviction of a public officer, as defined by this chapter, for any felony crime related to abuse of his or her office shall include, in addition to any other punishment imposed pursuant to this chapter, a forfeiture of his or her state pension.
The act would take effect immediately upon being signed into law by the governor.
No “same as” bill has been introduced in the State Senate.