Illinois state senator on ethics committee allegedly filed false income tax return
Sources have identified state Sen. Terry Link as the FBI’s witness in their investigation into former state Rep. Luis Arroyo. Tax troubles may have led to Link’s cooperation.
Illinois state Sen. Terry Link, D-Indian Creek, is allegedly the FBI witness behind the arrest of former Illinois House Assistant Majority Leader Luis Arroyo, according to Chicago Tribune sources.
Federal prosecutors have said the state senator’s cooperation was in exchange for a lighter sentence on pending tax fraud charges. Link is a member of the Legislative Ethics Commission, an assistant majority leader and chairs the gambling subcommittee that Arroyo was trying to influence with the bribe.
According to the Tribune report, Arroyo and Link met at a Highland Park restaurant on Aug. 22 where the two discussed support for Arroyo’s gambling legislation. They then went outside and Arroyo offered him a bribe. Link was wearing a wire for the FBI.
“I’m going to give you this here. This is, this is, this is the jackpot,” Arroyo said as he handed Link a bribe of $2,500, with a promise for monthly payments of the same amount.
“Let’s be clear, my word is my bond and my, my reputation,” said Arroyo.
The federal complaint did not identify Link as the FBI’s informant, stating that a bribe was made to “cooperating witness one” who was an Illinois state senator. Link repeatedly denied being the federal witness.
As for the legislation he discussed with Arroyo, one of the proposed casino locations from last spring’s gambling package calls for a casino in Waukegan, which Link represents.
Link himself is also under federal scrutiny. It is believed he is cooperating with the FBI in hopes of a lighter punishment if charged with filing false income taxes in 2016. Illinois House Republicans have called for Link to resign his position on the Legislative Ethics Commission.
Revelations about Link and Arroyo are the latest in a long year of arrests and investigations of Illinois politicians. Chicago Ald. Ed Burke, 14th Ward, and state Sen. Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park, have both been charged in federal corruption scandals. Federal authorities recently raided the offices of the architect of Illinois’ doubled gas tax, state Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, as well as those of numerous south suburban leaders in connection to a probe of a red-light camera company.
Curbing Illinois corruption
Despite the cost and damage of political corruption in Illinois, state lawmakers have done little to address it.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and legislative leaders should back commonsense anti-corruption reforms for Illinois, many of which were included in a 2009 state report released following the indictment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. They include:
- Strengthened revolving door restrictions on state lawmakers.
- Empowering the Illinois legislative inspector general, which is a muzzled watchdog office that must seek approval from state lawmakers before opening a corruption investigation in the Illinois General Assembly.
- Mandating state lawmakers recuse themselves from votes in which they have a conflict of interest.
- Reforming state House rules, which grant more concentrated power to the Illinois House speaker than any other state’s legislature grants their speaker.
- Using objective scoring criteria for capital projects, akin to Virginia’s Smart Scale Illinois infrastructure dollars are too often directed by clout rather than need.
- Passing a bipartisan constitutional amendmentto end politically drawn legislative maps in Illinois.
As the raids pile up and more officials become the subject of investigations and corruption scandals, Illinois residents quickly lose trust in their government. They deserve better than backroom deals from their elected leaders