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Derrick Smith Expelled From Illinois House

By Chuck Sudo in News on Aug 17, 2012 7:40PM

2012_3_23_derrick_smith.jpg The Illinois House cast Rep. Derrick Smith out like a leper today. The House overwhelmingly voted to expel Smith from his House seat, by a 100-6 vote. We weren’t expecting an agreement on pension reform during today’s special session of the Illinois General Assembly anyway.

Smith as an unexcused no-show and we can understand why he didn’t make the trip to Springfield only to be told he was no longer welcome. But then Smith hasn’t spent much time in the House since his March indictment on accepting a bribe. He hasn’t cooperated with the House panel investigating him and has been largely absent from his duties since his arrest. (Although Smith did take some time out to host a legal advice clinic in his district.)

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), who chairs the Select Committee on Discipline that urged Smith’s expulsion, said she and her peers didn’t take the vote lightly.

The case against Rep. Smith is about something no member of this House can consider harmless. Taking official action not because it’s right for the public but because someone has offered you a bribe to do so, that is a very contrary to our mission as state legislators. “Using one’s office for personal gain, not for the public good, is an affront to the core responsibilities of every legislator. To act in this way, is to me, a stunning violation of the oath of office each of us has promised to uphold. I can think of no greater breach of the public trust.”

Smith can still regain his seat if he decides to stay on the ballot for the November general election. He's the first member of the House to be expelled since 1905.