The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

IL House Opens Investigation On State Rep. Derrick Smith

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Mar 27, 2012 6:20PM

The Illinois House opened a special investigation today into state Rep. Derrick Smith for allegations of a "gross breach of public trust" related to federal bribery charges. This is the first probe of its kind since Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment proceedings. Smith could face censure, reprimand or expulsion. The Special Investigative Committee will work with the U.S. Attorney's office

Smith was arrested one week before the primaries for taking a $7,000 bribe, caught by an FBI sting. Democrats encouraged voters to still vote for him, though, saying it's better than letting the seat go to Tom Swiss, a Republican running as a Democrat. House Speaker Michael Madigan pumped $60,000 into Smith's campaign, more than any other primary campaign. U.S. Rep. Danny Davis said before the election, "We know that our colleague is charged with criminal activity, but we also know that a charge is not a conviction."

Smith won the election with 77 percent of the vote. Then, Democrats were quick to start calling for his resignation after the election, including Gov. Pat Quinn. As House Leader, Madigan signed off on the investigation proceedings.

"I really feel that Rep. Smith would do himself a favor by taking the advice of Secretary of State Jesse White and many, many others and resigning," Quinn told the Tribune. "If he doesn't resign, I think Rep. Smith should be aware that he may indeed be expelled."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel echoed calls for Smith to step down. “I do not think — while Mr. Smith won the primary — that his name should be on the ballot in November,” Emanuel told the Sun-Times. “He’s already shown a violation of the code of conduct that comes with the honor of serving the public.”

Capitol Fax has a livestream of the hearings, going on now.