Quantcast

Lawmaker facing bribe charges urged to step down

derrick-smith

SPRINGFIELD — Democratic and Republican lawmakers want state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, to resign.

By Stephanie Fryer

SPRINGFIELD — Democratic and Republican lawmakers want state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, to resign.

Hours after Smith's colossal primary election win Tuesday — he brought in 77 percent of the votes — his biggest political backer, Secretary of State Jesse White called for Smith's resignation.

"The allegations in the charge against him convey unacceptable conduct, making it extremely difficult to represent the citizens of the district," White said in a written statement Wednesday, when lawmakers returned to work after a week off to campaign before the primary. Smith was absent from the state Capitol.

Smith is accused of accepting a $7,000 bribe to steer a state grant of $50,000 to a daycare.

Smith was a former employee of White's office and received an endorsement from White last year when the House Legislative Committee appointed Smith to the House seat vacated by former state Rep. Annazette Collins D-Chicago, who moved to the state Senate.

Gov. Pat Quinn also called for Smith to step down.

"The governor thinks Rep. Smith should step down as soon as possible. He cannot be an effective representative for his constituents given his circumstances and the cloud hanging over his head," Brook Anderson, a spokeswoman for Quinn, said.

Smith has remained quiet concerning his charges and what his plan of action will be. Multiple calls to Smith's office were not returned.

Now a group of lawmakers have initiated an Illinois House investigation into Smith's charges.

"It's tremendously disappointing. For all of us to put the state through another corruption trial is maddening," state Rep. Ed Sullivan, R-Mundelein, said on why he supports an internal investigation.

Lawmakers calling for the investigation include representatives Bill Mitchell, R-Forsyth; Tim Schmitz, R-Batavia; Dave Winters, R-Shirland; Jim Sacia, R-Freeport, and Ed Sullivan, R-Mundelein.

"This isn't a Republican or Democratic issue. It's more so about the integrity of the House of Representatives," Mitchell said.

Under the rules of the Illinois House, a petition calling for an investigation committee must be filed with the speaker of the House to initiate the disciplinary proceedings. The five Republicans who called for the investigation signed such a petition.

At least one House member must sign the petition. The charges behind the petition must be serious, such as bribery or coercion, in order for the House to take action. If the charges were proven true, the House could seek impeachment.

If three or more House members sign the petition, the speaker must appoint three members of the majority party, and the minority leader must appoint three as well.

Committee members were appointed late Wednesday afternoon. House Minority Leader Tom Cross R-Oswego, appointed state Reps Jil Tracy, R-Mount Sterling; JoAnn Osmond, R-Antioch; and Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst. Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, appointed state Reps. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook; William Davis, D-Homewood; and Andre Thapedi, D-Chicago.

The group will hold its first meeting Tuesday.

Editors’ Picks