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House Panel Recommends Expulsion Of Rep. Derrick Smith

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jul 19, 2012 10:00PM

A state house disciplinary panel recommends the House expel state Rep. Derrick Smith over allegations that he accepted a $7,000 bribe. The full House will still have to vote to expel Smith, but the Select Committee on Disciplin voted 11-1 in favor of expulsion.

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

Smith denies wrongdoing, and he has refused to step down or aside in favor of another Democratic candidate this fall. Smith also hasn't been showing up to work, and he has been unwilling to cooperate with the disciplinary panel's investigation.

The Tribune writes:

Rep. Sidney Mathias, R-Buffalo Grove, a member of the disciplinary panel, pointed out that Smith’s absence alone raises a serious concern because lawmakers must consider the “conduct of the member and his ability to defend his own conduct.” “He’s the only one who can tell us the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Mathias said. But Smith made the choice to skip the House hearings because he determined that his “criminal trial was more important than the House of Representatives, and maybe it should be,” Mathias said. Further, lawmakers questioned why several of some 150 phone calls between Smith and a confidential source that Henderson called a “con man” came on days when the Illinois House was in session.

The House could vote to expel Smith if Gov. Pat Quinn calls a special session to address pension reform. It would require 79 of 118 votes to expel Smith.