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This just in… Secretary of State Jesse White calls on Rep. Derrick Smith to resign

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012

* 2:39 pm - From a press release…

“I am calling on Derrick Smith to resign from his position as state representative of the 10th District. The allegations in the charge against him convey unacceptable conduct, making it extremely difficult to represent the citizens of the district. The public would be much better served if Derrick were to step down.”

I don’t know yet if this means Smith is resisting a push-out or whether White just wants to get out in front of the inevitable. Stay tuned.

As you already know, Rep. Smith is White’s guy. White installed him in the House, so the task of getting Smith the heck out - now - is naturally falling on White’s shoulders.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


36 Comments
  1. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:53 pm:

    If Swiss had won, the Democrats would have had to run a decent candidate for the job.

    When Derrick Smith resigns, he will be replaced by some other lackluster insider who has ingratiated himself (herself) to the local committeemen.


  2. - Scott Lee Cohen - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:55 pm:

    DON’T DO IT!!!!!


  3. - Easy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:06 pm:

    Oh my gosh. This violates secretary if state code 57-1.46. How dare he do this. It’s all political. Oh the humanity. Save the tumblers.


  4. - Boone Logan Square - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:10 pm:

    Oh to be a fly on the wall for whatever conversation the SoS had with Smith before this went out.


  5. - Team America - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:12 pm:

    This call by White, coming a day after the election, really epitomizes in one instance almost everything that’s wrong with Illinois politics. It’s really disgusting.


  6. - Been There - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:23 pm:

    ===Oh to be a fly on the wall for whatever conversation the SoS had with Smith before this went out.===
    I am thinking Jesse is staying very far away from Derrick right now. At least he should be. Never know what the feds are already asking Derrick to do for them. Do it through a press release instead of actually talking to him is the smart move. Even if you have nothing to hide, things have a way of getting taken out of content when tapes are played after the fact.


  7. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:30 pm:

    I would love to know what you guy think the Dems should have done before now. The guy was charged (not convicted, charged) last week. The other guy in the Democratic primary is a known Republican. So they let him stay in the race, he wins, they take him out now and replace him with a real member of the Democratic Party.


  8. - Ace Matson - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:32 pm:

    What if Smith is innocent? Why should he resign? What if he resigned and then was found ‘not guilty’? He has been charged. That’s all. Innocent until proven guilty. Leave him alone. Jesse White should know better.


  9. - Responsa - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:35 pm:

    Had White made this call yesterday or even the day before, it would have made no difference whatsoever in the outcome of the race. Derrick Smith would still have won. But White’s reputation for ethical conduct would have taken a lesser hit. Very disappointed in Jesse.


  10. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:44 pm:

    == I would love to know what you guy think the Dems should have done before now. The guy was charged (not convicted, charged) last week. The other guy in the Democratic primary is a known Republican. So they let him stay in the race, he wins, they take him out now and replace him with a real member of the Democratic Party. ==

    Well, did the charges get more serious in the last 48 hours? Nope. So if what he charged with is of such a nature that a senior official with the Democratic party and in the state feels that he should resign, shouldn’t that official had stated that a couple of days ago?

    Yes the realpolitik of the whole thing says wait until after the primary, I get that.

    But I guess the point is that it would be nice, if someone stood up and just said what needed to be said publicly and did what needed to be done publicly without pondering the realpolitik. Is that really too much to ask?


  11. - Tom - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:47 pm:

    was Smith in Springfield today?


  12. - too obvious - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:57 pm:

    Too bad the IL GOP can’t clean up quickly like the Democrats do.


  13. - Been There - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:01 pm:

    ===was Smith in Springfield today===
    Listed as Absent on votes taken today


  14. - Red Ranger - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:10 pm:

    Team America is right. Disgusting. Definitely not a “Profile In Courage” move by an otherwise decent man. Add the day after the election call to step down to the fact Smith was already accused of fairly shady activities makes Smith a large blemish on the reputation of White.


  15. - TCB - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:24 pm:

    White should’ve called upon Smith to resign yesterday at 11am…..by then he had enough votes to still beat Swiss.


  16. - irisheyesrsmilin" - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:27 pm:

    Mr. Miller, my client, the real Scott Lee Cohen, did not post the above post. I understand the humor behind it but I’d like to point that out. Thanks- Kelly Tarrant


  17. - ILPundit - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:28 pm:

    There was no way for Jesse to look good in all this, but this strikes me as amateur hour from team White.

    If the strategy was to stay silent after the indictment, then they needed to stick with that strategy, and work quietly behind the scenes.

    Going public now, especially the day after the primary, just pulls Jesse into the story more (and makes him look weak if Smith doesn’t immediately comply).

    Jesse’s political team has never been accused of setting the world on fire. But right now, they risk screwing up a good mans reputation. If I were Jesse, I’d be looking for some actual political professionals to come help with damage control, because I don’t think his current team is up to the task.


  18. - Shore - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:28 pm:

    If this were in NYC tomorrow’s NYPOST headline would be “Jesse White Tumble”. I really liked my drivers license renewal experience and your organization but you can go now.


  19. - Independent - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:41 pm:

    This timing of this press release is disappointing. I respected Jesse White for being the only prominent IL Dem to take a consistent, principled stand during the Burris fiasco. Now some of that respect is gone.


  20. - Mouthy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:41 pm:

    Rule one: Keep Swiss off the ballot so we can name the shoo-in.
    Rule two: There is no rule two


  21. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:44 pm:

    If you want to jump on Jesse White, fine. But his silence comes no where near to Quinn’s and Madigan’s silence while supporting Blagojevich for a second term. They knew he was guilty of taking bribes and other acts of corruption long before the election cycle even started. Did Jesse know of Smith’s crime before his arrest?


  22. - Hoping for Rational Thought - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:54 pm:

    House Special Investigation committee has posted for March 27. No subject listed for now.


  23. - ILPundit - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:55 pm:

    Wensica,

    Two points. First — I don’t recall Jesse doing anything different than Quinn or Madigan re: Blagojevich. (And just as a matter of fact, nobody knew Blago was guilty of anything at that point, there was just a lot of smoke, no fire yet)

    Second, Jesse White personally made Smith a Representative despite a known history of ethical problems. Then he was stone silent after Smith’s indictment.

    Jesse is acting like a textbook Illinois politician, which is fine I suppose. Except Jesse’s entire political identity is supposed to be that’s he’s never been “that guy”. Until now.

    Its a problem for him.


  24. - Anon III - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:55 pm:

    We have had a lot of bad experience with appointing people to elective office in this State. An elective office is an elective office. When it is an appointive office, it unfortunately becomes “f***ing golden.”

    The law restricts giving political campaign contributions at the State and Federal level for the expressed purpose of preventing corruption of elected officials. How much more potential for corruption is there when not money, but the office itself is given?

    How really important is it to appoint someone to an unexpired term? All things considered, a vacancy would be preferable.


  25. - Responsa - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 5:15 pm:

    Wensicia– ah, but don’t we expect more of Jesse White than we ever do/did from Quinn and Madigan? That’s the difference, I think.

    It may surprise a few of the more highly politicized people here, but in Illinois we voters sometimes do in fact cross party lines to reward a candidate when the office holder’s reputation for decency, ethics, bi-partisanship, and competence in the performance of his elected office deserves it. Jesse White has been the recipient of this trust based cross-over voting in several election cycles, and has been one of the few admired political figures in Illinois as a result of his work with disadvantaged youth.

    I’m sorry, but it’s going to be very hard for many of us to ever see Jesse White in quite the same untarnished apolitical way from here on in. Sad.


  26. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 5:31 pm:

    “Wensicia– ah, but don’t we expect more of Jesse White than we ever do/did from Quinn and Madigan? That’s the difference, I think.”

    You make a very good point, I admired Jesse for standing against the Burris appointment. I’m pleased to hear him speak out against Smith now, though it comes after the primary. We’re still waiting to hear from Madigan and Quinn, though.


  27. - Little Egypt - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 6:00 pm:

    It sure doesn’t take long for the dust to settle after an Illinois election. Now that we’re in the phase of “life after Blago”, do we have to find another politician to tie to the political stake and burn before we know the full story? Oh let’s go after Jesse White. After all, he’s been a stand up Secretary of State. cleaned up the SOS office, helped out thousands of inner city kids on his own dime, enhanced our State’s organ donor policy, on and on, but NOOOOO. That’s not good enough for the citizens of Illinois.

    Does anyone believe that the voters of Rep. Smith’s district were not aware of his misdeeds? So let’s justifiably point the finger at those 15,507 people who voted Smith into office.


  28. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 6:47 pm:

    ===Oh my gosh. This violates secretary if state code 57-1.46. How dare he do this. It’s all political. Oh the humanity. Save the tumblers.===

    You are right, it is a political move, congrats!


  29. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 7:08 pm:

    I think it’s going to take more than a sternly worded press release to get Smith to voluntarily step aside.

    And White sure worked hard to get Smith re-elected yesterday. I understand the Swiss issue, but yesterday it was “Vote Smith” and today White says the public would be better off if Smith resigned. These two ideas are in conflict.

    Verbal gymnastics from the Chief Tumbler.


  30. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 7:25 pm:

    –Jesse is acting like a textbook Illinois politician, which is fine I suppose. Except Jesse’s entire political identity is supposed to be that’s he’s never been “that guy”. Until now. –

    We’re all shocked, shocked, that gambling is taking place here, Mr. Rick.

    I’m not shocked that there is corruption in politics, small p. I think came across that on page 4 in Genesis.

    I voted for Ron Paul yesterday, so I can’t relate to those who just take the word of national prosecutors at face value.

    But, if you’d care to use the google, check out the report earlier this week on the wrongful prosecution of Sen. Stevens (R-Alaska).

    That dude, number three in the GOP hierarchy, got hosed by prosecutors from the Bush II administration.

    Those DOJ prosecutors like to put the skins on the wail.


  31. - Rudy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 8:28 pm:

    This is going to work out for the best. Before, they just didn’t know what they had. It’s hard to believe Smith could fall for lines right out of a rejected b-radio plot with Rod and Beavers in the news. Now Jesse’s under a spotlight. He’ll handpick someone else from his extensive organization who’s ready to step up and serve, and who vets out well.


  32. - Shemp - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 8:53 pm:

    I get that it is a wise political move, but it still gives me that uneasy, sick feeling in the gut.

    If Jesse had appointed an angel that went bad, that might make it more understandable too, but knowing that Jesse knowingly appointed a person of bad character, just makes it that much more disgusting I think.


  33. - Newsclown - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:33 pm:

    White has to own this problem to beat it. Today’s statement was the very bare minimum to be expected. Frankly, it’s way too late, but better than nothing.

    As to due process, impeachment is political not legal. We learned that with He Who Must Not Be Named. We got him impeached long before he was convicted, and arguably, the tapes on Smith we’ve already heard are very much more cut-and dried than for …that other guy… and the feds have him with actual money in hand, I bet it’s marked as well, or serial numbers recorded, at least. Come on. Smith should take the hint and beat it, now.

    I have to blame Madigan for this, ultimately. The zero-sum gaming for a majority at any cost has led to a lowering of standards for the game pieces, and now it’s gone too darned far.
    Realpolitik be darned; this was a clear case where Madigan should have been a man first and party leader second. I’ve lost quite o lot of respect for him over this, maybe enough to change my votes next time. It is symptomatic of the out of control partisanship in our state government that a farce like this can develop and nobody just does the right thing, no matter how painful.


  34. - Vasyl - Thursday, Mar 22, 12 @ 12:05 am:

    As someone who lives in the district, let me say that I believe this is the best course of action in a crappy situation. I am glad Smith won because Swiss was running a stealth campaign based on a lie. My vote for Smith was exactly a vote for the leaders of the Democratic Party ony district to make sure Smith resigns and then replace him with a quality candidate.

    I hope that the committeemen recognize the unique situation and run a transparent process to choose a replacement based on merit.


  35. - Wumpus - Thursday, Mar 22, 12 @ 7:58 am:

    Stay in the race, Smith. What has changed in 2 days?


  36. - Little Egypt - Thursday, Mar 22, 12 @ 8:58 am:

    It’s me Rich, posting from a different computer.

    With a clear morning, it’s interesting to see the focus of this now change from White to Madigan. If y’all are going to blame someone, let’s blame the person who has the most to gain from having yet another Stepford Representative in the ranks. Here’s a clue - it ain’t Jesse.


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