CHICAGO (CBS) — A day after Illinois State Rep. Luis Arroyo was arrested on charges of bribing an unnamed state senator, House Speaker Mike Madigan said he was initiating proceedings to remove Arroyo from office.
Arroyo, 65, has been charged with one count of federal program bribery. Federal prosecutors said he was caught on tape paying a $2,500 bribe to a state senator who was wearing a wire for the feds. The feds say Arroyo had agreed to pay the senator $2,500 a month for up to a year in exchange for the senator’s support of sweepstakes-related legislation that would benefit one of Arroyo’s lobbying clients.
Madigan had called on Arroyo to resign from office, but so far Arroyo has only agreed to step down as chairman of the House Appropriations-Capital Committee.
Tuesday afternoon, Madigan said he was taking the first steps to try to expel Arroyo from the legislature. House rules allow a state representative to be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the House.
“Today, I filed the necessary paperwork initiating the official process of removing Representative Luis Arroyo from office. At my request, Representatives Fred Crespo, Justin Slaughter and Barbara Hernandez will serve on an investigative committee as required under House rules,” Madigan stated in a news release.
The investigative committee will hold its first meeting on Friday.
The charges against Arroyo do not identify the senator involved in the case, identifying the lawmaker only as “Cooperating Witness 1.” But that witness has been identified by multiple news outlets as state Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills), who is the assistant majority leader in the Illinois State Senate.
According to the charges, on Aug. 2, Arroyo offered to pay the senator $2,500 a month for his support for the sweepstakes legislation. On Aug. 22, the two met at a restaurant in Skokie, and Arroyo gave the senator a check for $2,500 as an initial payment, with the expectation Arroyo would continue paying $2,500 a month for 6 to 12 months.
Link allegedly recorded the conversation for the feds. He expects to be charged with filing false income tax returns in 2016 and is apparently cooperating in the hopes of a lighter punishment.
Arroyo ducked reporters Monday as he left his initial court appearance.
Should the House vote to expel Arroyo, he could still run for re-election next year, and if he were to win, the House could not expel him again for the same offense.
If convicted of the bribery charge, Arroyo would face up to 10 years in prison.