“It is time to close the Combine’s pension loophole.”
February 26, 2018
Transcript of Ives’ Statement
Thanks to the courage of women like Denise Rotheimer and Aliana Hampton the sexual harassment culture perpetuated by the Illinois Political Ruling Class is being exposed and we have the beginnings of a reckoning.
For the culture to change that reckoning must ultimately be visited upon the culpable leadership of both parties. This, of course, starts with House Speaker Mike Madigan whose resignation I called for last week even as Republican legislative leaders and Governor Rauner remained silent.
But only half the story of Madiganworld has been told so far.
Yes, Madigan clearly covered for, ignored or was willfully blind to serious allegations of repeated incidents of harassment and abuse by his longtime political lieutenants Kevin Quinn and Shaw Decremer.
Quinn, in particular, had a history of alleged domestic abuse and harassment. His estranged wife reported three domestic incidents at their home since last July. And, as you know, shortly after his termination, Quinn was arrested for violating a protective order.
This is the harassment part of the story and I have stood with whistleblowers like Denise Rotheimer from the outset. I have called on the finally-appointed Legislative Inspector General to release copies of complaints against legislators that went unanswered for as long as three years to be made public with the names of the accusers redacted. And I have been willing to be critical of both parties in Springfield–as the Legislative Ethics Commission is bipartisan—for their joint failure in leaving the LIG position vacant for so long.
That’s one half of the story.
The other half of the story is the fleecing of Illinois taxpayers and gaming of the system. That’s always a part of the story in Illinois, isn’t it?
In round numbers, alleged sexual predator Kevin Quinn is in line for a $750,000 payout from Illinois families.
Here’s how the scam works. Political bosses like Madigan put political operatives on the state payroll in dubious jobs to accrue benefits. They roll on and off the state payroll based on their political campaign assignments throughout an election cycle.
Madigan pays campaign staff with state pensions which, we know, are worth much, much more than any cash he could offer.
A public pension– or the threat of losing it– buys lots of loyalty.
So let’s illustrate this with Kevin Quinn.
Over 17 years, Kevin Quinn went on and off state payroll over and over again. He spent half the year– ostensibly– working for the state, and the other half working for Madigan’s campaigns.
What exactly did Kevin Quinn do while working for the state?
In what kind of employment situation and for what kind of work can someone work half the year?
What kind of employer can maintain an employee who consistently works 50% of the time over 17 years?
No employer other than the State of Illinois.
Over his 17 years, Kevin Quinn contributed approximately $26,000 to his pension. He will collect more than $750,000 over a 30-year retirement. That’s a 28x return on his contributions. Quinn will get all that he contributed and more back before the end of his second year’s worth of pension payments.
Is it any wonder why we have the largest unfunded pension liabilities in the country?
This is the sort of corruption—both parts of the story, the sexual harassment culture and the kleptocratic culture—that Governor Rauner said he would clean up.
Rather than clean it up, he’s arguably joined the club.
On the sexual harassment issue, Rauner won’t answer questions about the departure of his former general counsel Dennis Murashko.
On the issue of political operatives on the state payroll building scam pensions, Rauner is continuing the tradition of Madigan and generations of Democrats and Republicans, the bipartisan combine as the Tribune’s John Kass calls it.
Brittany Ladd, a 32-year old state staffer who is married to Nick Kiltzing, Rauner’s deputy campaign manager and former Executive Director of Rauner’s Republican Party, was recently given a $150,000 position in Rauner’s office.
She earns more than many agency heads.
Her appointment– unlike many top aide appointments– wasn’t announced.
What’s her job description? They aren’t saying. But it isn’t hard to assume she is helping Rauner coordinate his schedule as governor with his campaign schedule this year– run by her husband, Nick.
How about Rauner toady Jim Durkin? The House GOP Leader is another who likes to decry Madigan while behaving like him.
Denise Rotheimer has called out Durkin for being unresponsive to her call for help in her case of sexual harassment against State Sen. Ira Silverstein.
And the Daily Herald has been covering the hiring of Durkin’s sister-in-law Laura for an $80,000 job in the engineering department at the Illinois Tollway, a traditional patronage dumping ground. Durkin’s sister-in-law last worked in 2001 selling office furniture.
This bipartisan scamming of Illinois taxpayers has to end. And it will if I’m governor.
As governor, I will ban the practice of rolling on and off the state payroll. If you work full-time for the state, you’re entitled to your sick days, personal days, vacation time and FMLA benefits. You’re not entitled to do politics half the year and sit around a state office the other half of the year.
I will close the loophole that allows political operatives like Kevin Quinn to get public pensions.
The easiest way to do that is to go to the 401k style pensions for which I have previously advocated.
You don’t work. You don’t accrue benefits. Simple as that.
State government is not intended to be a pension dispensary for political operatives. And it won’t be if I’m elected governor.
It is time to close the Combine’s pension loophole.