The state is suspending former Commonwealth Edison lobbyist Michael McClain's legislative retirement, but the move may not be permanent.
A spokesperson for the state's General Assembly Pension System told WBEZ that they had moved to withhold McClain's pension following the federal jury verdict against him in the ComEd bribery trial.
McClain, a top confidant of former House Speaker Michael Madigan, was found guilty of nine counts as part of a ComEd scheme to bribe Madigan to help advance the Springfield power company's legislative agenda.
Since withdrawing his taxpayer-funded retirement benefits in 2002, McClain has received more than $313,000 in retirement payments, state records show.
That's close to nearly nine times the roughly $35,000 McClain contributed to state-funded benefits, arising from his time as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives between 1973 and 1983.
The state system that suspended McClain's pensions said it would consult Attorney General Kwame Raoul about whether there were reasons to withdraw benefits permanently.
State law provides that legislative pensions can be revoked if a legislator has been involved in an offense arising out of or in connection with his or her service in the General Assembly.
That could be a factor against McClain's permanent stripping of benefits — a mistake federal prosecutors focused on between 2011 and 2019, long after McClain's time as a Democratic lawmaker from Quincy.
Raoul's office has voted in favor of reinstating the legislative pensions of former state Senator Terry Link, D-Vernon Hills, and former state Representative Edward Acevedo, D-Chicago, who pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion and paid the state pensions while in prison. Raoul wrote that the crimes they were accused of had nothing to do with their tenure.
Link has also pleaded guilty to tax evasion but has not been convicted as he is a witness to the cooperating government.
Acevedo's name came up in the recently concluded ComEd bribery trial. Although free of charge, Acevedo is among several Madigan allies to receive no-work contracts from ComEd with help from former speakers.
WBEZ reported last February about nearly $2 million in checks that had been paid to a mix of federally charged, convicted and self-confessed criminals who had served under the Capitol dome in Springfield. In some cases, a loved one is the beneficiary.
No attempt to toughen felony foreclosure laws regarding legislative pensions has been filed at the Illinois statehouse this year, an area former Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson said should be considered as part of his post-ComEd trial. ethics reform package.
Raoul is not expected to voice an opinion until McClain is sentenced, and no date has been set. McClain will also be tried under separate racketeering and bribery charges with Madigan next April.
The attorney general's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about McClain's retirement.
McClain's defense attorney, Patrick Cotter, declined to comment.