Hastert loses one Illinois pension, keeps another after sentencing

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Illinois stripped former U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert of his teacher’s pension on Wednesday, but his sentencing for a federal financial crime linked to past sex abuse will not cost him a second, more lucrative state pension.

Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert arrives at the Dirksen Federal courthouse for his scheduled sentencing hearing in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Frank Polich

The state Teachers’ Retirement System moved swiftly after Hastert’s sentencing by ending his $16,622-a-year annuity from 16 years of teaching in a far western suburb of Chicago, where the sexual abuse to which he admitted occurred.

But Hastert will not lose his $28,025 annual pension from his six years as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives.

The Teachers’ Retirement System, in ending Hastert’s pension, cited an Illinois law that prohibits retired educators from drawing pensions if they are found guilty of a felony arising from their service as teachers.

Hastert was sentenced by a federal judge in Chicago on Wednesday to 15 months in prison, followed by two years of probation and sex-offender treatment for a financial crime related to his sexual abuse of high school wrestlers he coached decades ago.

As a teacher between 1965 and 1981, Hastert’s contributions to the Teachers’ Retirement System totaled $16,327. Since 1997, Hastert received $237,045 in pension payments, the agency disclosed.

But his benefit from his years as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives will continue because the crime to which Hastert admitted happened after 2010, more than two decades after his departure from the Illinois statehouse, said Timothy Blair, executive secretary for the state General Assembly Retirement System.

“The one charge on this that stuck happened well after his time in the General Assembly,” Blair said. “Obviously, it couldn’t be related to his role as an elected official here.”

As a legislator, Hastert contributed $19,805 to his legislative pension and has received $420,524, Blair’s agency disclosed.

The federal agency that administers congressional pensions did not respond to questions about Hastert on Wednesday.

Editing by Leslie Adler