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Day After Bribery Charges, House Begins Process To Expel Arroyo

House Republican Leader Jim Durkin makes final remarks as the 2019 legislative session comes to a close
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, shown here in a file photo from June 2019, is urging the House to move quickly to expel Rep. Luis Arroyo.

A day after state Rep. Luis Arroyo was charged with bribery, his colleagues began the process to throw him out of office.

The Chicago Democrat has pleaded not guilty. But since he failed to meet bipartisan demands for his resignation, Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan on Tuesday filed paperwork to convene a bipartisan investigative committee, with the ultimate goal of expelling Arroyo.

House Republicans had filed similar paperwork the day before. Republican Leader Jim Durkin, who had key roles in impeaching Gov. Rod Blagojevich and expelling another lawmaker, says investigators should not waste any time.

“I think the public deserves to have a quick resolution to this matter, and this body needs a resolution to this,” Durkin said in an interview with public radio. “He should not step in this chamber again.”

Meanwhile, Republicans are calling for a ban on state lawmakers being paid to lobby local government in Illinois. Arroyo was a registered a lobbyist trying to influence the Chicago City Council.

Cooperating Witness 1

Elsewhere in the Capitol, other lawmakers are dealing with the fallout from the Arroyo charges. A criminal complaint says he was caught bribing an unnamed state senator who was secretly working with the FBI.

On Monday, the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune separately identified state Sen. Terry Link as the senator working with the FBI to catch Arroyo.

Link denied any role on Monday, and by Tuesday he was refusing to answer questions from reporters.

“I answered the question yesterday,” Link told a group of reporters trying to keep up with him as he walked through the Capitol rotunda. “I’m not going to continuously answer this every day of my life. I’m down here to do a job that I was elected to do, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Senate President John Cullerton says he’s continuing to work with Link on gambling legislation. Link has long been the Senate Democrats’ lead negotiator on the issue.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is urging lawmakers to change the tax rates on a Chicago casino authorized earlier this year. Without that, Chicago officials say it’s unlikely the project will be able to get off the ground.

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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