Closing The State Payroll Loophole

CBS 2 exposed a state payroll loophole costing taxpayers thousands. It came to light when Mike Madigan resigned and was replaced by two people in the same month. Making them eligible for a full month's pay. CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reports.

Video Transcript

- Weeks ago CBS 2 exposed a state payroll loophole that's costing you, the taxpayer, thousands of dollars.

- It came to light when Mike Madigan resigned and was replaced by not one, but two people in the same month, making all three eligible for a full month's pay. CBS 2 political investigator, Dana Koslov learned two of those three lawmakers will pocket that cash. Dana.

DANA KOSLOV: Yeah, Brad and Erica. Michael Madigan pocketed his full February salary when he left office on February 18th and now I've learned that his replacement plans to do the same thing after just spending a few days in office. All of this as a law to change this taxpayer hit continues to make its way to the state Capitol.

$5,788.66 That's how much new state representative Angelica Guerrero Cuellar, Mike Madigan's replacement, will get paid for the month of February. $5,788.66 is the monthly salary for every Illinois lawmaker, but Guerrero Cuellar is pocketing those taxpayer for only 3 and 1/2 days on the job.

SUSANA MENDOZA: We had asked her to submit a waiver that would allow us not to have to pay her, but she declined.

DANA KOSLOV: Guererro Cuellar's immediate predecessor, Edward Kodatt spent a mere two days in office before resigning and then declining the money. Mendoza says Guererro Cuellar was given ample opportunity to do the same.

SUSANA MENDOZA: She was offered the opportunity once more to sign that waiver. One was delivered directly to her home as well.

DANA KOSLOV: She's certainly not the first to take advantage of the state law requiring lawmakers work only one day to get a full month's pay. It's why she's pushing a law to change it.

MIKE MURPHY: This needs to get done.

DANA KOSLOV: Springfield state Rep. Mike Murphy is a co-sponsor. Murphy, a Republican, pushed similar legislation in the past. It will likely become part of a larger ethics reform package, now he believes there's support.

MIKE MURPHY: I think so. I think among the regular members. Now we've got to see if there's support among the leadership because that's what's going to determine whether this bill moves forward.

DANA KOSLOV: Currently, Illinois is facing a debt crisis. Mendoza says she's juggling a $5 billion bill backlog. Moody's is predicting the state's pension debt will top $300 billion this year, the worst in the country. We reached out to Guererro Cuellar, whose name isn't even on her office door yet, for a response. None immediately available.

SUSANA MENDOZA: Of course, $6,000 from that pay period that she's eligible for, it's not going to solve the financial deficit but it certainly causes a greater deficit of trust.

DANA KOSLOV: I reached out to House Speaker Chris Welch about this bill and whether it has merit. He says it does and he will consider it with his caucus. I also just heard back from the new representative spokesperson who says she plans to use that money to establish a food dispensary, date to be determined.

Live in the streetside studio. Dana Koslov, CBS 2 News.