Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Link pleads guilty to filing a false tax return, “unrelated” to Senate service
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Link pleads guilty to filing a false tax return, “unrelated” to Senate service

Wednesday, Sep 16, 2020

* Jon Seidel at the Sun-Times live-tweeted former Sen. Terry Link’s court hearing today

Link’s plea agreement anticipates his cooperation with federal prosecutors. A source has already identified him as the senator who wore a wire against then-Rep. Luis Arroyo. He has denied it.

A prosecutor says Link’s income in 2016 was about $358,000 even though he claimed it was $264,450.

#BREAKING: Longtime Illinois lawmaker Terry Link pleads guilty to filing a false tax return. His plea comes nearly a year after he denied being the unnamed senator who wore a wire on then-Rep. Luis Arroyo in exchange for leniency in court.

Link’s attorney clarifies, for the record, an agreement with prosecutors: The charges in Link’s case are unrelated to his employment as a state senator.

A few more details on Link: Of his 2016 income, he spent $73,000 on personal expenses from an account controlled by his political campaign. His false return in 2016 cost the IRS $25,913 and the IL DOR $3,520.

Link also filed false tax returns from 2012-2015.

The agreement with the feds about the charges being unrelated to his Senate service likely protects his pension.

*** UPDATE *** From the US Attorney…

Former Illinois State Sen. TERRANCE P. LINK pleaded guilty today to a federal tax charge and admitted willfully underreporting his income for several years.
Link admitted in a plea agreement that he willfully underreported his income on his tax returns for the calendar years 2012 through 2016. The conduct caused total losses to the IRS of at least $71,133, and to the Illinois Department of Revenue of at least $11,527, the plea agreement states. For the calendar year 2016, Link admitted that he underreported approximately $93,859, approximately $73,159 of which was money from a campaign fund – Friends of Terry Link – that Link spent on personal expenses, the plea agreement states.

Link, 73, pleaded guilty to one count of filing a false tax return, which is punishable by up to three years in federal prison. He agreed to pay restitution of $71,133 to the IRS, and $11,527 to the Illinois Department of Revenue.

U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr., did not immediately set a sentencing date. A status hearing was set for March 30, 2021, at 9:00 a.m.

The guilty plea was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent-in-Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in Chicago. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Stetler and James P. Durkin.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 10:56 am:

    Of course it is unrelated to his Senate duties; don’t want to endanger that state pension

  2. - southsider - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:07 am:

    == The agreement with the feds about the charges being unrelated to his Senate service likely protects his pension. =

    Exactly. But doesn’t stop the pension system from reviewing and down the road determining if it was tied to his service.

  3. - don the legend - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:12 am:

    Margie in Fargo might say this to Sen. Link:
    And for what?
    For a little bit of money.
    There’s more to life
    than a little money, you know.
    Don’t you know that?
    And here y’are.
    And it’s a beautiful day.

  4. - Been There - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:20 am:

    === A few more details on Link: Of his 2016 income, he spent $73,000 on personal expenses from an account controlled by his political campaign====
    You could say him having a political account was directly related to him being a senator. But that’s up to the pension board to decide.

  5. - phenom_Anon - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:23 am:

    =You could say him having a political account was directly related to him being a senator. But that’s up to the pension board to decide.=

    That seems to be a fairly straightforward assumption. Shouldn’t he be facing fines from the board of elections for this as well?

  6. - Fav Human - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:30 am:

    You could say him having a political account was directly related to him being a senator. But that’s up to the pension board to decide.

    I’d love to see how they argue it’s not related to being in the Senate :)

  7. - Perrid - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    That campaign money was given to his campaign to help it. It seems hard to argue it’s not related to his Senate job. What, are they going to say the campaign fund was generic support for him and NOT for him in his specific capacity as a Senator? Doesn’t compute for me.

  8. - jim - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:49 am:

    isn’t this the guy who votes to raise taxes on everyone else?

  9. - Southsider - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 11:55 am:

    Looking forward to the reporter who asks the feds why they keep falling for the unrelated to official duties plea agreements. Sure seems like a slap in the wrist.

  10. - thoughts matter - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    My guess is they are walking that supposed divider between a campaign for an office and the office itself. Campaigning can be done by anyone and doesn’t involve a pension. Serving in the office is related to duties performed such as voting, committees, district offices etc. It follows the theory that you can’t campaign for office in your actual office location( no political phone calls, no use of state computers etc).
    The argument can be made that the campaign fund wouldn’t have been that large or been in place for that long without him actually having been a Senator. But, he didn’t plead guilty to selling senate services ( such as voting a particular way, or giving someone a Senate seat).

  11. - Just Curious - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    He along with Sandoval and Tom Cullerton under indictment should have their pensions taken away when they are found guilty. They are Senators first and foremost.

  12. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    The pension board will do what they will do. Some of you apparently want to see him lose his pension. Well, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it.

    I would note that, as Rich did, that the US Attorney agrees that the charges are unrelated to his Senate seat. Further, for those who think his campaign fund is somehow legally connected to his senate seat, I’d remind you that had he so chosen, Link could have used every penny of his campaign account to run for mayor or county board chairman or any other state office.

    The campaign fund is tied to him, not to the office in which he is serving.

  13. - Monadnock Pigeon - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    ==Looking forward to the reporter who asks the feds why they keep falling for the unrelated to official duties plea agreements.==

    Actually, it’s not a matter that they’re falling for anything. Here’s why - unless the federal charge that the defendant is pleading to involves his use of his public office as an element of the crime, whether it’s related to his public office or not is irrelevant. For tax evasion, whether or not it was related to his public office is not an element of the crime with which he was charged, so they don’t care.

    From the fed’s standpoint, this is something they can give the defendant in exchange for the plea that costs them nothing.

    Why would the defense ask for this? So that the plea cannot be used as admission under oath of misconduct in office. Which (as noted in earlier comments) would put his GA pension in jeopardy.

    BTW, this doesn’t prevent the GARS board from stripping him of his GA pension. It just means the board has to go through its full hearing process (which provides him with greater due process protections and the chance to raise defenses, etc.) to strip him of his pension. The lack of an admission under oath in an unrelated federal criminal proceeding doesn’t block the board from acting.

    So why ask for this at all? If his plea could be used as an admission, then the board could take legal notice of his statement under oath (which is what the plea is), and the process for stripping him of his pension would be much quicker (and much harder to defend against).

  14. - Just Me 2 - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 1:07 pm:

    Having a campaign account is related to being a candidate for office, not necessarily holding that office.

    What is the state punishment for converting campaign dollars to personal use?

  15. - walker - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    Don the Legend +++

  16. - Visa - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 2:04 pm:

    What’s the sentencing guideline for this plea?

  17. - Been There - Wednesday, Sep 16, 20 @ 2:24 pm:

    47th you are correct. From Link’s committee description:
    “ To support the candidacy of Terry Link for elected public office.”
    Personally I don’t care if he gets his pension or not. I always thought that was like punishing someone twice. If the feds and the judge wanted to fine him the same amount as his pension would be that would be up to them to do it at sentencing.

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