SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CAPITOL BUREAU)– A state representative was arrested and now faces a bribery charge.
Luis Arroyo was charged in federal court Monday. He is accused of offering to pay a state senator $2,500 a month in exchange for the senator’s support of a bill. State leaders on both sides of the aisle are fed up with recent allegations of corruption swirling around the capitol. Now many from the governor to the speaker of the house are asking Arroyo to step down.
“I am now calling upon Representative Luis Arroyo to resign by the end of business today,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin said in a press conference Monday.
Durkin said Arroyo will be under the microscope if he doesn’t step down. “Otherwise, I will be filing proper paperwork to begin the special investigative process in a special investigative committee under house rule 91,” said Durkin.
Governor Pritzker is also calling on Arroyo to immediately step down as chairman of the capital appropriations committee, saying in statement:
“Corruption, deception and self-dealing have no place in our government, and public officials who betray the public trust have forfeited the privilege of serving.”
House Speaker Micheal Madigan said Arroyo’s attorney’s have assured him that Arroyo plans to remove himself from the committee but Madigan is asking to him to go further than that, saying Arroyo should resign from his seat as a state representative.
“Related to representative Durkin’s press conference this morning, we are prepared to institute those procedures under rules for disciplinary committee, take testimony and then make a recommendation in the house of representatives.”
Arroyo’s name is no longer listed as capital appropriations chair on the state’s General Assembly website.
Dr. Megan Remmel, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Bradley University says Illinois’ law has very few regulations on lawmakers acting as lobbyists while they are in office.
“This exposes some problems in Illinois’ state laws. Illinois is one of seven states that doesn’t have a law about lawmakers and lobbying,” Remmel said.
Dr. Remmel says Illinois law also doesn’t regulate lawmakers from lobbying to each other for personal and/or political gain either.
“It’s also exposing the blurred line of legislative backscratching. There’s something called log-rolling in legislature. It’s this idea that ‘I scratch your back, you scratch mine,’ but the idea here is that I’m voting for something for your district and you vote for something for my district,” Dr. Remmel said.
“He’s obviously gone beyond that and it’s a personal gain thing. It has nothing to do with the district for him. It has nothing to do with the State Sen. who is supposedly involved,” Dr. Remmel added.
Dr. Remmel says the topic the Political Science world is wrestling with is if Illinois is extremely corrupt, or if the state is just extremely vigilant at catching corruption.
“Illinois does have the 3rd highest per capita conviction rate of public officials for corruption. It’s hard to tell if that means we’re good at catching corruption or if there’s just a lot of corruption to catch,” Dr. Remmel said.
Speaker Mike Madigan took the first step to expel Rep. Arroyo from the statehouse on Tuesday.
Arroyo’s attorneys say he is not guilty.
A bipartisan panel of lawmakers will hold their first meeting this Friday to open an investigation before they can expel Arroyo from office.
That process could take months.