The political landscapes in Chicago and in the Illinois General Assembly have undergone rapid changes in the past few days. State Rep. Luis Arroyo, from Chicago’s West Side, was arrested and charged with bribery by federal prosecutors on Monday of last week. Two days later, Arroyo resigned.
Prosecutors claim the former Third District representative tried to bribe a state senator with monthly $2,500 payments in exchange for support for legislation to legalize “sweepstakes” gambling. “This is the jackpot,” Arroyo allegedly said to the senator as he handed over the first check.
According to news reports, the state senator was wearing a wire that enabled federal agents to listen in on the conversation. In addition, the 13-page criminal complaint says the senator was cooperating with the FBI in hopes of securing a plea deal of his own.
The Sun-Times reported that Sen. Terry Link expects to be charged with filing false income tax returns. He reportedly cooperated in the Arroyo investigation in order to get a reduced sentence.
Arroyo is the most recent politician to face allegations of public corruption based, in part, on information gathered with the help of another politician. Late last year, the FBI raided Ald. Edward M. Burke’s City Hall office; he was later charged with racketeering. Then-Ald. Danny Solis reportedly wore a wire during that federal investigation.
the bribery charge against Arroyo revolves around his lobbying work. The former state representative had been hired to lobby the Chicago City Council to legalize sweepstakes gaming. Sweepstakes machines look like ordinary slot machines but are not regulated by the state’s Gaming Board.
Arroyo faces up to 10 years in federal prison if he is convicted on the bribery charge.