Hike sentence

Disgraced Illinois lawmaker collected $129,000 pension while awaiting jail sentence

The former Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader received a taxpayer-funded pension worth $129,000 between his retirement in 2019 after he was arrested on corruption charges by federal authorities in 2019 and his conviction in 2022.

Former State Representative Luis Arroyo was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison on May 25, after pleading guilty to charges of accepting bribes in exchange for promoting legislation expanding the gambling in illinois.

The conviction of the former Illinois House Deputy Majority Leader comes more than two years after Arroyo was first arrested in October 2019 by federal authorities for bribing a public official.

Within months, the melee state representative retired and was charged with wire and mail fraud. He also received an Illinois taxpayer-funded pension worth $129,762, according to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The retirement payout Arroyo received in just 29 months was more than triple what he had contributed in his 13 years of public service.

While Arroyo was ultimately stripped of his pension by law after being found guilty, Illinois was still required to pay the corrupt public official $53,694 a year until his conviction for his personal use. These funds were never recovered by state taxpayers.

As lawmakers anticipated the trial of indicted former House Speaker Michael Madigan would span years, state Rep. Amy Elik introduced a bill that would have suspended tax-funded benefits for legislators under criminal investigation.

HB 5737 was introduced in the final days of the spring session after federal authorities indicted Madigan, the nation’s longest-serving House speaker, on bribery and racketeering charges in connection with alleged bribery schemes. Madigan served as Majority Leader alongside Arroyo before his arrest.

“Corrupt lawmakers should not receive a taxpayer-funded pension if they have defrauded taxpayers while serving in state government themselves,” Elik said. “Suspending pension payments pending resolution of a case will send a strong message to corrupt politicians that if you break the law there will be costly consequences.”

Elik’s bill was reassigned to the House Rules Committee on April 1. The measure did not go to a vote until state lawmakers wrap up the session on April 8.

Politicians’ inaction on HB 5737 and other anti-corruption reforms over the decades ended up costing Illinois $556 million each year. Not only does this corruption weaken residents’ trust in government, but it diminishes economic growth and discourages investment in the state.

Similar attempts at ethics reform during the spring session, including a bill barring lawmakers convicted of corruption from running for public office, were also referred to the rules committee for consideration until now. at the end of the session.