Tucked in page 379 – 380 of the pension reform bill is this little nugget:
In accordance with section 16(b) of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania and notwithstanding this paragraph, the act of July 8, 1978 (P.L.752, No.140), known as the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act, or 42 Pa.C.S. § 3352 (relating to pension rights), the accumulated mandatory participant contributions and accumulated voluntary contributions standing to the credit of a participant shall not be forfeited but shall be available for payment of fines and restitution as provided by law. In accordance with section 16(b) of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania, amounts in the trust that have been ordered to be distributed to an alternate payee as the result of an equitable distribution of marital property as part of an approved domestic relations order entered before the date of the order or action in a court or other tribunal resulting in a forfeiture of a participant’s interest in the trust shall not be subject to the provisions of the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act or 42 Pa.C.S. § 3352. Any accumulated employer defined contributions forfeited as a result of this paragraph or other law shall be retained by the board and notwithstanding sections 5812(2) (relating to powers and duties of board), 5815 (relating to expenses) and 5902(c) (relating to administrative duties of the board) used for the payment of expenses of the plan.
If I am reading this correctly, this will allow public officials – or public employees – convicted of a crime to transfer their retirement savings to their spouses and then use that as a legal fund if need be. In the past, elected officials and public employees lost their pensions when they went to prison, but lets ask ourselves who would be the bigger losers? Politicians like Bill DeWeese, Mike Veon, Vince Fumo who lost lots of money after their convictions or your run of the mill teacher or public employee?