State Sen. Terry Link remains silent as more politicians call for his resignation
A day after he was charged with federal tax evasion, state Sen. Terry Link remained publicly silent on the matter Friday, refusing to respond to interview requests or issue a statement.
Meanwhile, the chorus of voices from the Lake County political community criticizing Link or calling for his resignation has grown.
"He owes an immediate explanation to the people of the district," said state Rep. David McSweeney, a Barrington Hills Republican. "And if he doesn't provide a comment, he should resign."
Link, who chairs the Lake County Democratic organization and formerly served as assistant majority leader in the Senate, was charged Thursday in a one-page document filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Federal prosecutors say the 73-year-old Indian Creek resident falsified his income on his return for 2016. Link reported his total income that year was $264,450 even though he knew his income "substantially exceeded that amount," according to the charging document.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago couldn't be reached to elaborate on the case.
The tax charge comes months after media reports identified Link as the unnamed senator who cooperated with the FBI and wore a wire to trap then-state Rep. Luis Arroyo of Chicago in a federal bribery case. Arroyo has pleaded not guilty.
Federal documents indicate the cooperator falsified income tax returns and helped the FBI in order to get leniency in that case. Link repeatedly denied he was the FBI source.
Link has represented the 30th District, which includes much of central and eastern Lake County and a small portion of Cook County, for nearly 24 years.
Link hasn't responded to phone calls or emails seeking interviews. But he did resign his chairmanship of the Senate pensions committee Friday afternoon, a spokesman for Illinois Senate President Don Harmon said. Link stepped down from the General Assembly's legislative ethics commission Thursday.
Noting that he worked with Link last year on legislation that lets voters dissolve townships in McHenry County, McSweeney said he wants to hear Link's explanation for the circumstances leading to the criminal charge.
"No comment is not an acceptable response," McSweeney said. "He has to say something at this point."
Shortly after the charge against Link was filed Thursday, state Sen. Melinda Bush, a Grayslake Democrat, suggested Link step down. So did state Sen. Dan McConchie, a Hawthorn Woods Republican, and state Rep. Daniel Didech, a Buffalo Grove Democrat, among others.
Lake County Board Chair Sandy Hart, a Lake Bluff Democrat, subsequently joined their ranks.
"If these charges are true, he should do the right thing, right now, and immediately resign as Illinois state senator and as chair of the Lake County Democratic Party," Hart said Friday.
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Deerfield Democrat, called the charge against Link "serious and deeply disturbing" in a Facebook post Friday, and he demanded Link step down as chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party.
"It is unacceptable for him to lead the party at a time of transition with these charges against him, and especially through an election," Schneider wrote.
In a Facebook post on the Lake County Republican Party's Facebook page, county GOP leader Mark Shaw assailed Link for denying for months "that he did anything wrong or that he was even under investigation."
"This is another grim day and black eye for Lake County," Shaw said.
Link wasn't the only Democratic leader not talking to reporters Friday. The website for the Lake County Democratic organization identifies three vice chairs, and none responded to interview requests.