Lobbyists receiving public pensions in Missouri and Illinois
By KMOV Web Producer
(KMOV) – Missouri and Illinois officials are reportedly giving taxpayer money to highly-paid lobbyists in the form of state pensions.
Eighteen other states have also given state pensions to lobbyists. Decades ago, state lawmakers said lobbyists who represent counties, cities and school boards served the government and the public and thus received a state pension.
Missouri House Government Oversight Committee Chair Jay Barnes agrees that it must stop.
He does not believe the state can recover the money that was already paid out but does say the lobbyists need to be cut off.
“I absolutely understand why people think it’s wrong, lobbyists for private corporations don’t deserve public pensions,” Barnes said.
While lawmakers in Missouri have not tackled the issue yet, Illinois lawmakers have moved to stop the flow of taxpayer money to lobbyists.
On Tuesday afternoon, News 4 asked Governor Pat Quinn if he will take action.
“I think we need to have fundamental pension reform in our sate and if there are any kinds of abuses we need to ferret them out and end them,” Quinn said.
Illinois State Representative Jay Hoffman was at Southern Illinois Edwardsville with the governor and he said this is troubling and state lawmakers will take action to stop this from happening.
Missouri State Representative Jay Barnes told News 4 the best outcome is closing the loophole allowing taxpayer money to go to employees of private companies.