Munger: Lawmakers Suing Over Pay Are ‘Cowards’

December 02, 2016
Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger begins a news conference on the state budget Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Chicago.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger begins a news conference on the state budget Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Chicago.

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says lawmakers suing her to get back pay are "cowards.'' The Republican was named in a Cook County lawsuit by six legislators Friday on her last day in office. The Democratic lawmakers haven't been paid since May and say Munger Is violating the state Constitution by interfering in a separate branch of government.

Munger announced in April she would put lawmakers' paychecks in line with all other overdue bills until they reach a budget deal with Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The Illinois Constitution says lawmaker pay cannot be changed mid-term. But Munger says she's just treating politicians like everyone else owed money by the state of Illinois.

"We ended the month of October with just $10 million in cash available in the state to pay nearly $8 billion in bills," she said. "And yet these lawmakers are going to court now to ask that they receive preferential treatment and get paid first."

The lawsuit was filed by Democratic representatives Emanuel "Chris'' Welch of Hillside, Kate Cloonen of Kankakee, Lisa Hernandez of Cicero along with Chicagoans Mary Flowers, Sonya Harper and Silvan Tabares.

Democrat Susanna Mendoza takes over Monday and has pledged to continue withholding paychecks.

Munger was appointed in 2014 to fill a vacancy but lost election last month to Mendoza, who has pledged to continue withholding pay.

Story source: AP