Bill would deny pensions to convicted officeholders

Prompted by recent scandals involving such officials as Mayor Sheila Dixon, an Anne Arundel County delegate has introduced legislation that would deny public pensions to elected officeholders who are convicted of crimes committed while in office.

Del. Ron George, a Republican,  submitted the bill Thursday, saying it would close what he called a loophole in the law presently that limits that sanction to officials convicted while in office. He said that now all an official has to do to keep a pension is resign just before conviction. 

George said the legislation provides that if the crime was committed while the official was in office but the conviction came later, the pension and other benefits would still be foreited.

George pointed to the cases in recent years of  Dixon, who pled guilty to theft charges but was allowed to keep her pension in a plea deal, and Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson, who was sentenced to seven yesrs in prison last year after admitting to federal bribery and extortion charges in a case resolved after he left office.

More than  60 delegates have signed on as co-sponsors, George said.



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