Public Officials Who Break The Law Could Lose Their Pensions Under Recently Passed House Bill
Sponsor says it's good government, Boccieri says Legislature isn't really serious about public corruption

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today reiterated his call for comprehensive campaign finance reform while affirming his support for House Bill 284. The bill adds extortion, perjury, and certain federal offenses to the list of convictions that could cause an individual to lose public retirement system benefits. The House passed the legislation earlier this afternoon by a vote of 88-2. 

The ‘good government’ bill is well-intended, but fails to target the real root cause of public corruption, according to Boccieri.

“The sponsor said this is 'good government' and I said the Legislature needs to get serious,” Boccieri said. “If the General Assembly wants to start tackling public corruption, then at the top of the list should be campaign finance reform. I supported this legislation in the hopes that it would be one more deterrent to prevent bad decisions by officeholders. However, bills like this end up burdening the families of public officials who become offenders instead of targeting the root cause of public corruption: the obscene amount of money in the political process.”

Since the Supreme Court held in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) that the First Amendment prohibits government restrictions on political expenditures, all types of advocacy and political organizations have had free rein to engage in unlimited political spending. As a result, wealthy interests have had an advantage in gaining the ear of politicians and influencing policy decisions. Rep. Boccieri feels strongly that these interests cloud public officials’ ability to adequately serve their constituents and prioritize their needs.

“We need to crack down on money in politics because it stacks the system against everyday people and drowns out their voices,” Rep. Boccieri said.

HB 284 was sponsored by Reps. Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) and Marlene Anielski (R-Walton hills) and now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

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