House and Senate Republicans held a press conference Monday to talk about what kind of pension revocation they would support in an ethics reform package.
Last week Senate Democrats thought they had worked out a deal with Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell, however, they neglected to get the Republicans on board with new language that called for a judge to reduce the pension of a corrupt public official, instead of revoking it. Senate Democrats had argued Rell’s attorneys said the revocation language would not hold up in court under the federal Employees Retirement Investment and Security Act.
Click the play arrow to watch the Republicans comment on how they’re attorney’s concluded it would hold up in court under ERISA.
Rep. Chris Caruso, D-Bridgeport, who is in favor of taking away the pensions of officials convicted up to 10 years ago, said he believes in pension revocation and not the “watered down” version the Senate Democrats tried to pass last week. “If you allow plea bargaining, which I know the Senate Democrat version does, if you allow plea bargaining with a pension, then it’s not revoking the pension,” Caruso said.
He said if you allow the pension to be used to pay fines, “you’re using taxpayers money to pay for taxpayers money that was stolen.”
Click the play arrow to watch Rep. Caruso talk about how the two different versions would work.
In response to the criticism of its compromise with Rell, Sen. President Donald Williams sent out this statement Monday evening: “Last week Senate Republicans, relying on a technicality, refused to even allow a debate, or final action, on the ethics bill supported by Gov. Rell, Attorney General Blumenthal, and Senate Democrats.”
“Now Republican lawmakers are saying they want reform – and that is good to hear. The real test though, is not what they say on a Monday but what they do on a Wednesday,” Williams said in an emailed statement. “We want to pass a bill that will strengthen public trust in government and I hope our Republican and Democratic friends will roll up their sleeves and make a pledge to get this done.”