Lisa Madigan: Farnham should lose pension for child porn conviction

  • Former state Rep. Keith Farnham, an Elgin Democrat, is set to lose his state pension this month.

      Former state Rep. Keith Farnham, an Elgin Democrat, is set to lose his state pension this month. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/3/2015 5:52 AM

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan ruled Thursday that former state Rep. Keith Farnham of Elgin should lose his state pension because child pornography he was convicted for possessing was found on his government computer.

Officials who are convicted of felonies relating to their state duties can lose their retirement benefits after they've been sentenced. Farnham was sentenced last month to eight years in federal prison and now is set to lose his $1,237 monthly benefit that he started collected last year.

 

After sentencing, Madigan had to rule on whether Farnham's crime was related to his work as a Democrat in the Illinois House.

"Farnham clearly violated that duty by misappropriating the state's computers, the state's internet access system, his state legislative district office, and his state compensated time to engage in the reprehensible conduct which resulted in his conviction," Madigan wrote.

Now that she has ruled, a panel of state lawmakers that oversee the pension system is set to meet April 15, when they can formally take Farnham's pension away.

"I can't imagine we'd do otherwise," state Rep. David Harris, an Arlington Heights Republican, said.

Harris said Farnham, under the law, is entitled to recoup the money he's contributed into the system.

"I just think that's nuts," Harris said.

Harris has proposed legislation that wouldn't let felonious lawmakers recover contributions if they've already collected in pension benefits more than they've paid into the system.

Farnham was ordered to report to prison May 19.

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