Facing a federal tax evasion charge, state Sen. Terry Link has announced he will resign as leader of the Lake County Democratic Party effective Sept. 15.
But some prominent Democrats — including Lauren Beth Gash, a former state representative who’s the first vice chair of the party in Lake County and in line to succeed Link — aren’t pleased with that timetable as campaigns for the Nov. 3 presidential election are heating up.
"We are working hard to elect Democrats who share our values in the fall. We don’t want distractions," said Gash, of Highland Park. "We are communicating with Terry about an earlier resignation or a special meeting to accomplish that."
Link, of Indian Creek, revealed his plans in an email to Lake County Democratic leaders Thursday morning. A copy of the email was shared with the Daily Herald.
"Please accept this letter as formal notification that on September 15, 2020 I will be resigning as Chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party," Link wrote.
Link has served as the local Democratic chairman since 1992. He has represented the 30th Senate District, which includes much of central and eastern Lake County and a small portion of Cook County, since 1997.
In his email, Link said he’s "worked diligently" to grow the party in Lake County. During his tenure, the balance of political power in the once staunchly Republican county slowly shifted to the Democrats, so much so that today Democrats hold nearly every legislative and countywide position and have majority control of the county board.
Link called serving as chairman a privilege.
But Link’s political career is in decline. Last week, he was charged with tax evasion in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
Federal prosecutors say Link 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.
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 person who cooperated falsified income tax returns and helped the FBI in order to get leniency. Link repeatedly has denied he was the FBI source.
Link hasn’t responded to phone calls or emails seeking interviews.
In his email to Democratic leaders, Link said he has been contemplating resigning as party chairman "for quite a while."
"While some of you might assume my resignation is related to what you may have read in the news, those who truly know me and know my character and loyalty to the Democratic Party know there has to be more to the story," he wrote. "I can assure you that there is a lot more to the story. Unfortunately, at this time I am unable to comment on any of this."
Under party rules, the chair goes to the first vice chair if there’s a vacancy. Gash was elected first vice chair earlier this year.
Link has given no public indication he plans to resign his Senate seat. But he has stepped down as chairman of the Senate pensions committee and as a member of the General Assembly’s legislative ethics commission.
Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush, Democratic state Rep. Daniel Didech of Buffalo Grove and Republican state Sen. Dan McConchie of Hawthorn Woods are among the lawmakers who’ve called for Link to resign from the Senate.
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Deerfield Democrat, called the charge against Link "serious and deeply disturbing" last week and called for Link to step down as chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party — but he didn’t mention the Senate seat.
via Daily Herald
August 20, 2020 at 02:47PM