State Sen. Terry Link, D-Indian Creek, resigned from the
Illinois Senate on Sept. 12, a month after being indicted on a tax evasion
charge and a day after the deadline to let voters pick his replacement.
Immediately after his indictment, Link resigned his position on the Legislative
Ethics Commission and as chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party. He held
on to his state Senate seat until the day after the statewide deadline to put
replacement candidates on the Nov. 3 ballot. The new chair of the county party
will select Link’s replacement to serve the remainder of his term through 2022.
His colleague from the neighboring Senate district was displeased.
“I want people to choose their elected officials, not a party,” said state Sen.
Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, who previously called for Link’s resignation. “This
just continues the distrust that is out there with the public.”
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Link is charged with falsifying his 2016 tax returns. He reported his income was
$264,450, but federal prosecutors said he knew his income “substantially
exceeded that amount.”
Link was identified by the Chicago Tribune as the senator who recorded a bribery
offer from former state Rep. Luis Arroyo in August 2019. News accounts and
charges state he wore a wire for the FBI in exchange for a lighter sentence on
tax evasion charges, although he previously denied cooperating with the federal
Arroyo and Link met at a Highland Park restaurant where the two discussed
support for Arroyo’s gambling legislation, according to a Chicago Tribune
report. They then went outside, and Arroyo offered Link a bribe.
“I’m going to give you this here. This is, this is, this is the jackpot,” Arroyo
said as he handed Link a bribe of $2,500, with a promise for monthly payments of
the same amount.
“Let’s be clear, my word is my bond and my, my reputation,” Arroyo said.
Arroyo was arrested on Oct. 25 and charged with bribing a state official. He now
faces up to 10 years behind bars and has since resigned as state representative.
Link was the fourth state legislator who supported Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s
progressive income tax amendment to be charged with a crime in the past year. He
is now the third member to resign.
Speaker of the House Michael Madigan is the fifth
key supporter of the “fair tax” getting a hard look from federal
investigators. He was implicated in a bribery scheme July 17 when
Commonwealth Edison admitted wrongdoing and pledged cooperation with
federal prosecutors. The prosecution agreement states ComEd directed
$1.3 million to Madigan’s associates in exchange for support on key
legislation worth $150 million to the energy company. He is also
under internal investigation by a House committee for behavior
unbecoming of a state lawmaker.
In April 2019, Chicago Magazine remarked that Link, as assistant
majority leader in the Illinois Senate, would be responsible for
“whipping votes to place the progressive income tax on next year’s
ballot.” The Senate passed the amendment the following month.
In addition to Link and Arroyo, former state Sen. Martin Sandoval
resigned in January after being charged with bribery. State Sen. Tom
Cullerton, D-Villa Park, was indicted in August 2019 on 41 counts
for embezzlement, conspiracy and making false statements, but has
Pritzker’s “fair tax” would only provide $6 in relief to Illinois’
low-income residents, yet take $3.7 billion out of the Illinois
economy as the state is trying to recover from the COVID-19 economic
downturn. It also hurts struggling Illinoisans by targeting the most
fertile source of Illinois jobs – increasing taxes up to 47% on over
100,000 small businesses. Pritzker put $56.5 million of his own
money into the “fair tax” campaign to persuade voters that state
lawmakers should be trusted with greater taxing powers, but he, too,
is facing a federal probe for a $331,000 property tax dodge.
Illinois voters on Nov. 3 will decide whether to amend the Illinois
Constitution to remove the flat income tax protection and allow
progressive taxes. That move to the “fair tax” would give the power
to decide who should be taxed and by how much to state lawmakers – a
group with a spotty reputation for paying its own taxes.
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