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State Rep. Derrick Smith Arrested For Accepting Bribe

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Mar 13, 2012 9:30PM

Illinois State Rep. Derrick Smith was arrested today for accepting a $7,000 bribe in exchange for writing a letter recommending a daycare center for a state grant. It was all part of an undercover FBI operation with the cooperation of an informant from Smith's campaign.

The informant told Smith about a woman who might be willing to make a campaign contribution in exchange for the letter, so Smith said he'd help for $5,000. He later upped it, and, according to the federal complaint against him, he said, "that if Daycare Owner was "legitimate," she could come up with a $7,000 contribution."

The Tribune writes:

Smith later told the informant that he wanted the $7,000 in cash, not in the form of a cashier’s check, because he didn’t want the money to leave a trail, prosecutors said. Smith also allegedly told his staffer he would pay him $2,000 for arranging the deal, according to the charge.

On Saturday, the informant met with Smith in his car and counted out $7,000 in $100 bills as he paid off Smith, prosecutors said.

The next day, Smith drove to an alley behind his staffer’s home and gave the staffer $1,000 in cash for his assistance, according to the charge. Smith promised to pay the remaining $1,000 by check, prosecutors said.

Smith was appointed to the state senate in March by a panel spearheaded by Secretary of State Jesse White. He is currently running for the Democratic nomination in next week's primary elections. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.