* I told subscribers about this earlier in the week…
Even if indicted state Rep. Derrick Smith is expelled from the Illinois House, nothing stops voters from putting the Chicago Democrat back in the Legislature in the November general election.
“There’s nothing in the election code prohibiting someone expelled from seeking re-election,” said Steve Sandvoss, general counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections. […]
But the Illinois Constitution, which outlines how a legislator can be expelled, is silent on expulsion concerning re-election eligibility, said Kent Redfield, political science professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
“All the Legislature can do is affect his current status,” Redfield said.
However, Redfield noted that if Smith is expelled, but not convicted by the federal government on the bribery charge before the election, the House could vote to not seat Smith after a general election win. Like an expulsion, two-thirds of the House must vote to prevent Smith from being sworn into the General Assembly.
If Smith is found guilty of the felony in federal court, he is ineligible to serve in the Legislature until after completing his punishment.
* Meanwhile, the Legislative Research Unit has found three other cases of House members facing punishment by their own chamber…
- Rep. Frank Comerford, D-Chicago, wasn’t accused of corrupt activities. What got him in hot water was claiming that other lawmakers were corrupt.
After alleging “wholesale corruption” at the Statehouse in 1905, Comerford couldn’t back his claims and was expelled from the House because he “besmirched the good name and reputation of this General Assembly.” He was then elected to fill the vacancy created by his expulsion and returned to the House less than two months after leaving.
- In 1935, Republican Reps. Richard J. Lyons and Lottie Holman O’Neill, from Lake County and DuPage County, filed a resolution criticizing President Franklin Roosevelt and Gov. Henry Horner, both Democrats. The next day, a fellow legislator introduced a resolution saying Lyons and O’Neill were unworthy of membership in the House. Lyons publicly apologized, the critical resolution was erased from the records and no further action was taken on the resolution saying the two weren’t fit for the House.
- House Majority Leader Gerald Shea, a Cook County Democrat, was accused in 1976 of violating ethics laws by serving as an attorney for the Illinois State Medical Society and simultaneously introducing malpractice legislation that could affect the society. Shea was exonerated 153-7.