OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
A prominent Illinois Democrat is facing a number of allegations including bribery charges in connection with a red-light camera scheme.
According to Fox News, state Sen. Emil Jones, a Chicago Democrat, has been accused of accepting bribes from “Company A,” a firm based in the city that provided automated systems commonly known as “red-light cameras” used to enforce traffic laws.
The cameras give local jurisdictions the ability to enforce traffic violations and issue tickets to motorists remotely.
The outlet added:
In early 2019, Jones introduced Senate Bill 1297, which would require the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to conduct a statewide study of automated traffic law enforcement systems, which included red-light cameras.
Later that year, Jones offered to protect one specific red-light camera from the legislation in exchange for a bribe, according to court filings made public Tuesday.
While the U.S. Attorney’s office has not identified the firm “Company A,” several media outlets including the Chicago Tribune identified the company as SafeSpeed LLC, Fox News reported.
///BREAKING/// State Sen. Emil Jones III has been hit with federal bribery charges alleging he took money from a red light camera company executive to kill legislation requiring traffic studies for camera systems. He’s also accused of lying to the FBI. Story to come pic.twitter.com/MYeBIgo1Tp
— Jason Meisner (@jmetr22b) September 20, 2022
STORY HERE: Illinois state Sen. Emil Jones III, who's up for reelection Nov. 8, is charged with bribery, lying to feds in the sprawling red-light camera investigation.
Jones is charged in a criminal information — indicating he intends to plead guilty.
— Jason Meisner (@jmetr22b) September 20, 2022
On Tuesday, the company issued a statement that said a former staffer was “engaged in criminal conduct and recruited outside individuals to help further his self-serving activities.”
“Their actions were clearly in their own self-interest and done without SafeSpeed’s knowledge and undercut the important work SafeSpeed does,” the company added.
“SafeSpeed built its business on integrity and ethics, and it holds its employees and representatives to the highest standards of conduct and ethics. SafeSpeed has long since terminated all contact with its former colleague and his associates,” the company noted further, according to Fox News.
“SafeSpeed remains committed to continuing to assist Illinois municipalities in improving traffic safety. SafeSpeed fully supports the federal government’s investigation into public corruption and will continue to aid their efforts in any way it can,” the statement added.
A number of other Democratic officials and lawmakers have been arrested in recent weeks on various charges including homicide.
Last month, Clark County, Nevada Public Administrator Robert Telles “was arrested for the September 3 murder of Jeff German, a journalist with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who exposed the official’s affair with another woman that worked in his office,” The Daily Mail reported.
“The arrest of Robert Telles is at once an enormous relief and an outrage for the Review-Journal newsroom,” Glenn Cook, the newspaper’s executive editor said. “We are relieved Telles is in custody and outraged that a colleague appears to have been killed for reporting on an elected official. Journalists can’t do the important work our communities require if they are afraid a presentation of facts could lead to violent retribution.”
Also last month, a grand jury in El Paso County, Colo., indicted Democratic state Sen. Pete Lee, chairman of the state chamber’s Judiciary Committee, on a single count of voting outside the district where he resides in 2020, which is a violation of state law.
The Associated Press reported:
The Aug. 3 indictment was first announced Tuesday by the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office led by Republican District Attorney Michael Allen.
It alleges Lee, whose formal name is Sanford Edmund Lee, “voted giving false information” about his place of residence during the presidential primary on March 3, 2020, The Colorado Sun reports.
The AP added if convicted, Lee faces up to three years in prison and a potential fine of as much as $100,000. An initial court hearing on the case was scheduled for Sept. 8 in El Paso County.
Earlier in August, former U.S. Rep. TJ Cox (D-Calif.) was indicted on 28 felony counts of fraud that include money laundering and wire fraud.
The indictment was unsealed and some of the counts related to campaign contributions, CNN reported:
Cox pleaded not guilty in federal court on Tuesday afternoon, following his arrest hours before at the Fresno County federal courthouse, according to online records from the county Sheriff’s Office. He is charged with 15 counts of wire fraud, 11 counts of money laundering, one count of financial institution fraud, and one count of campaign contribution fraud, according to court documents.
If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison for wire fraud and money laundering charges, and up to 30 years in prison for the financial institution fraud and wire fraud affecting a financial institution charges.