CHICAGO, IL – An Illinois state lawmaker bribed a legislative colleague with an offer of $2,500 a month in exchange for the state 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 lawmaker's backing of the legislation in the Illinois Senate, the complaint says.
The Chicago Democrat's alleged willingness to arrange regular payments for legislative support stands out even in a state with a history of brazen public corruption.
The 12-page complaint describes the moment Arroyo gave the check to his colleague in a suburban Chicago restaurant, citing a federal wiretap that allegedly captured their conversation.
"I'm going to give you this here," Arroyo tells the senator, the complaint says. "This is, this is, this is the jackpot."
When Arroyo asked at an earlier meeting if the lawmaker wanted the $2,500 checks each month for six months or each month for a year, the senator responds: "A year sounds great."
The complaint describes Arroyo as having a vested interest in the arrangement as manager of Spartacus 3 LLC, a lobbying company, which included as its clients the owner of a firm that deals in video sweepstakes machines. There's no indication in legislative records that Arroyo introduced any sweepstakes legislation, and when the idea was inserted into a gambling-expansion measure 18 months ago, there was little enthusiasm for it.
Arroyo appeared in Chicago federal court Monday morning on one count of federal program bribery. He looked calm as he stood by his lawyer during the five-minute hearing, his hands folded in front of him. Released on a personal recognizance bond in the afternoon, he didn't speak to reporters as he left the courthouse.