My state, Connecticut, has just added itself to the at least 14 states
that provide for public official pension forfeiture. Like some of the
other states, its new law covers municipal officials.
Pension forfeiture is the capital punishment of government
ethics. It makes legislators look like they care about ethics,
and it makes people feel that justice has been done. And with all these
"good" emotions sparking supportive editorials, few think about the
arguments pro and con, or the alternatives, which include fines and
restitution (some of which could be taken out of future pension
payments). Pension forfeiture is more about retribution than it is
about ethics, law enforcement, or accountability.
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