The revelation in the federal indictment of state Rep. Luis Arroyo that an unnamed state Senator had been wearing a wire and cooperating with federal investigators since 2016 elicited a mix of reactions from lawmakers in Springfield this week.
Arroyo has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors said they have a recording of him giving a bribe to a state senator. Asked about the disclosure, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said he had not given it much thought.
“We don’t know who it is, so we haven’t had a chance to reflect on it, really,” Cullerton said.
At a forum in Chicago, Gov. J.B. Pritzker was asked if anyone else at the statehouse was wearing a wire.
“Could be,” Pritzker said. “I mean it certainly seems like some sprawling investigation here, so I mean, I’m wearing the wire you gave me. Everyone can hear that, so.”
Pritzker also said that he doesn’t “say anything where it would matter.”
Pritzker himself has been caught on a federal wiretap in the past. He was recorded seeking an appointment to the office of Illinois treasure from then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2008 when federal investigators tapped Blagojevich’s phone.
State Rep. Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines, said the disclosure regarding a cooperating witness hasn’t changed the way he operates.
“Well I think you should always be cautious what you say to anybody, you know, and not do anything criminal,” Moylan said.
State Rep. Elizabeth Hernandez, D-Cicero, said the idea that one of her colleagues had been wearing a wire was disappointing.
“Because for those who try and work in such a way to build that trust among the public, the unfortunate actions of a few really impact all,” she said.
The indictment against Arroyo said the unnamed Senator was already working with federal investigators, but when the FBI learned the Senator had filed false tax returns, it closed its relationship with the lawmaker. However, the FBI went back to the Senator and he became an informant in an effort to get a reduced sentence on the expected tax charges.
The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times have identified state Sen. Terry Link as the cooperating witness. Link has denied it.