State Senator Emil Jones III, son of former Senate President Emil Jones Jr., is the latest in a long string of elected Democrats who have been charged with, or found guilty of, political wrongdoing. The Senator is charged with three bribery-related counts, including accepting a $5,000 bribe from red-light camera company SafeSpeed, which at one point had contracts in more than 20 Chicago suburbs and the City of Chicago. The cameras generate millions in revenue from motorists.
Sen. Jones III is accused of taking the bribe in exchange for limiting the scope of legislation for a red-light camera traffic study to only the City of Chicago. He also stands accused of asking for a lucrative job and additional payments for an unnamed associate, and of lying to the FBI. Sen. Jones III’s arraignment in federal court is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 23. To date, the red-light camera federal investigation has ensnared more than a dozen elected officials, political operatives, and business professionals.
Senator Sally Turner says the latest federal charges are yet another stain on a General Assembly that has been plagued with federal charges against current and former Democratic members. She further says that serving in the Senate or House is a privilege and should focus on serving people, not lining one’s own pockets. Senate Republicans filed a robust package of anti-corruption bills this year, and every bill was blocked by Senate Democrats, including legislation that would expand Illinois’ RICO law to include bribery, official misconduct, and legislative misconduct (currently only federal agents can investigate these crimes). The Senate Republicans’ ethics reform package can be viewed at https://www.ilsenategop.org/government_corruption.