U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos—whose 17th Congressional District spans the Illinois Quad Cities and other northwestern parts of the state—says the recent indictment of a Republican congressman for alleged insider trading is the latest example of what she describes as the Republican Party's "rampant culture of corruption, cronyism and incompetence."
U.S. Rep. Chris Collins of New York was arrested Wednesday on charges he passed along private information about a biotech company to his son. Collins has pleaded not guilty.
Bustos said Thursday that indictments like these are not normal.
"Someone might just say, 'Eh, it's just another corruption case in Washington'—but I tell you what: this has got to be a wakeup call to all Americans," said Bustos. "People I talk with in the grocery store aisle, they're tired of all of this going on, they're tired of watching Republicans like President Trump and Congressman Chris Collins turning American into a nation that appears to be of the rich, by the powerful, and for the lobbyists."
Bustos called Collins the House of Representatives' "biggest chearleader" of President Trump. Collins was the first sitting member of Congress to endorse then-candidate Trump's 2016 presidential bid.
She also pointed to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is currently on trial for bank and tax fraud. He too has pleaded not guilty.
Bustos hopes these high-profile indictments will motivate voters to elect Democrats in November's mid-term elections. Republicans currently hold a majority of seats in both chambers of Congress: they have maintained control of the House since 2011 and the Senate since 2015.
"We as Democrats pledge to the American public that should they choose to put their faith back in us—and I certainly hope they will—that our fight is for them," said Bustos. "It is for the people."
Democrats would need to gain a net of 23 House seats and two Senate seats in order to win back both chambers.
Bustos is seeking a fourth term in the House. She will face Republican Bill Fawell, a real estate broker from Galena.