CHICAGO (AP) — A state lawmaker at the Illinois Capitol sought to bribe another state lawmaker, offering $2,500 a month in exchange for the senator's support of sweepstakes-related legislation, according to a federal complaint unsealed on Monday.
Rep. Luis Arroyo, 65, made the offer on Aug. 2 and handed over an initial check on Aug. 22 for the unidentified state senator's backing of the legislation in the Illinois Senate, according to the complaint. The payments were expected to continue for six months to a year more, it says.
The 12-page complaint cites the moment Arroyo handed over the check, referring to a federal wiretap that allegedly captured their conversation at a suburban Chicago restaurant.
"I'm going to give you this here," Arroyo tells the senator, according to the complaint. "This is, this is, this is the jackpot."
The complaint refers to the state senator only as a cooperating witness.
Federal authorities have charged or raided the homes and offices of at least half a dozen Democrats this year. The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago, headed by John Lausch, an appointee of Republican President Donald Trump, has spearheaded the investigations against the Democrats, some of them acknowledged powerbrokers in the party.
Earlier Monday, Arroyo appeared in U.S. District Court in Chicago, where a prosecutor told a Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez that the lawmaker is accused of "offering an illicit payment to an official."
The Chicago Democrat stood next to his lawyer in court in a gray suit, looking outwardly calm, his hands folded in front of him. Arroyo didn't speak or enter a plea.
If convicted, he could face a maximum 10 years in prison, prosecutors said.
Arroyo is from Chicago's West Side and has served in the Legislature since 2006, representing the 3rd District. He is chairman of a House appropriations committee and is on the public utilities committee and transportation committee.
Arroyo has been re-elected to four terms as an Illinois state representative and as elected the general assembly's assistant majority leader in 2017. He has been a member of the special appropriations budget committee work group, an executive committee member and former chairman of appropriations for public safety, according to Arroyo's state House webpage.
Arroyo helped secure $1 million for a playground at Mary Lyon Elementary School, $1 million for Shabbona Park and $7.3 million for updates and improvements to the Healy Metra Station, the webpage said.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin called for Arroyo's resignation by the end of business on Monday, Oct. 28th, and said that if the resignation is not made in time, he will file paperwork to begin a special investigation.
House Speaker Michael Madigan released a statement saying, "The charges filed against Representative Arroyo are very serious. We have already contacted Representative Arroyo’s counsel to determine whether he will resign as state representative. I urge Representative Arroyo to resign from the House of Representatives, effective immediately. If he refuses, I will take the necessary steps to begin the process to remove him from office. Additionally, I have instructed my staff to begin bringing together stakeholders and experts to closely examine our ethics and lobbying laws and find ways to strengthen existing law.”