Federal agents are accusing Illinois state representative, Luis Arroyo, of paying a $2,500/month in kickbacks to a state senator for his vote to support legislation involving video gambling sweepstakes that would benefit one of his lobbying clients. I know what you are thinking: That is illegal? Does that not happen every day in politics? Is that not how American politics works?
Yes and no. Suffice it to say, there is a correct way of going about it, but directly paying bribes to state senators is not it.
Senator Not Named in Complaint
The state senator was not named in the complaint against Arroyo. However, it is known that the FBI used him as a confidential informant in the past but then terminated him after he filed a fraudulent income tax return. Later, the same senator lobbied the FBI to cut him a break on tax fraud charges if he agreed to help them get to Arroyo. It is believed that the state senator in question is Terry Link who has represented Vernon Hills since 1997. However, Link has denied that he is a CI for the FBI.
In the complaint, the individual who targeted Arroyo is referred to as CW-1. CW-1 was wearing a wire when Arroyo delivered the first of the $2,500 checks at a restaurant in Skokie. Federal authorities say that more checks were supposed to be delivered on a monthly basis for the next six to 12 months.
Arroyo is one of several local elected officials who have been targeted in FBI raids. Currently, the FBI is looking into the utility provider Commonwealth Edison in regards to their lobbying practices.
Local officials have begun to disown Arroyo. Amid calls for him to step down, it seems likely that Arroyo will resign at some point in the future. There have also been calls to increase state regulations regarding lobbying laws and ethical practices.
How is This Illegal?
It is more of a technicality than anything. Consider that the campaign finances of a political candidate are separate from their own personal finances. When lobbyists fund a political campaign, they are transferring money from their own personal accounts into the campaign’s coffers. The campaign money can technically only be used toward certain aims related to the campaign. If a political candidate raids his campaign funding to spend on personal items, he has broken the law. If funds paid by lobbyists go directly into the coffers of the political candidate, the lobbyists and the political candidate have broken the law.
In this case, Arroyo was hoping to push through legislation related to relating to gambling sweepstakes by paying kickbacks directly from the company coffers to CW-1, the state senator. The feds contend that Arroyo met with CW-1 and “Individual A” who is purportedly the company’s owner. In a private discussion between Arroyo and CW-1, Arroyo proposed the kickback. Arroyo will face federal charges of conspiracy and corruption.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are a corrupt Illinois politician, then you will need the best representation available, particularly if you have been caught red-handed in a federal sting. Call the law office of David Freidberg today at (312) 560-7100 and we can begin preparing your defense today.