Former Illinois House leader pleads guilty to bribery

Former Illinois House leader pleads guilty to bribery

A former Illinois House leader pleaded guilty to accepting bribes and then offering bribes to a state senator in an effort to push gambling legislation.

Former state Rep. Luis Arroyo pleaded guilty Nov. 3 in a federal corruption probe that showed he accepted bribes in exchange for promoting legislation expanding video sweepstakes machines.

According to prosecutors, James Weiss managed Collage LLC, a gaming machine company, and paid Arroyo off the books through Spartacus 3, Arroyo’s consulting firm. Arroyo never reported the payments to state regulators, which total at least $7,500, prosecutors said.

Arroyo met and paid then state Sen. Terry Link $2,500 to support sweepstakes legislation.

“This is, this is the jackpot,” Arroyo allegedly told Link, referring to the payment.

While the two were discussing the nature of the bribes, Link was wearing a wire in cooperation with the FBI to reduce his sentence for filing false tax returns.

It’s another instance of a corruption cycle that costs Illinoisans an estimated $556 million every year and ranks it No. 2 in the nation for public corruption. It also argues for strengthened ethics reforms beyond those recently enacted in Illinois, including a Legislative Inspector General with the ability to subpoena records and witnesses.

Arroyo was formerly House assistant majority leader as part of former House Speaker Mike Madigan’s leadership team. Madigan faces federal investigation of his role in a ComEd bribery scandal.

Arroyo’s sentencing is set for Feb. 18.

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