Four of five lawmakers convicted in Tennessee Waltz to get pensions

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Four of the five Tennessee legislators convicted in the Tennessee Waltz public corruption scandal will receive state pensions.

Only former state Representative Chris Newton isn't getting one. He joined the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System after passage of a statute that prevented newly elected legislators from collecting state pensions if they were convicted of federal felonies.

The law doesn't apply to former senators John Ford and Kathryn Bowers of Memphis, former Senator Ward Crutchfield of Chattanooga or former state Representative Roscoe Dixon of Memphis.

Records show Crutchfield's pension is $3,500 per month, Ford's is $2,700, Dixon's is $1,456 and Bowers' is $1,000.

Director Jill Bachus of the state retirement system says a 2006 ethics law requires members of the Legislature to agree each time they're elected or re-elected to forfeit pensions if they are later convicted of felonies involving malfeasance in office.

Bachus says the statute will eventually cover all members, as they are re-elected.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)