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*** UPDATED x4 - Riley was only “no” vote - Committee votes to expel - Managers recommend expulsion *** The wild, wild West Side

Thursday, Jul 19, 2012

*** UPDATE 1 *** That live video link of the Smith hearing is here.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The House managers have recommended expulsion for Rep. Smith.

*** UPDATE 3 *** The House Select Committee on Discipline voted 11-1 to expel Rep. Smith.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Rep. Al Riley (D-Olympia Fields) was the only “no” vote on the expulsion roll call.

…Adding… Here’s a ScribbleLive feed

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* The Sun-Times matches up dates in West Side Democratic Rep. Derrick Smith’s indictment with session days and finds that Smith could’ve been plotting to accept a bribe while he was on duty in Springfield

A Chicago Sun-Times review of phone calls between Smith and the mole that federal investigators identified in their criminal complaint and the House journal turned up numerous, unreported occasions when Smith actually was in Springfield, allegedly conversing over the phone with the informant.

That detail could surface Thursday during a key hearing when a legislative panel weighing Smith’s political future hears arguments to punish him with sanctions as severe as expulsion.

“That building is so impressive. You can’t walk in there without thinking it’s the people’s business,” David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said of the statehouse. “If he’s going to be at the Capitol, the notion he was engaging in allegedly corrupt activities is all the more egregious.”

In their criminal complaint against Smith, federal prosecutors outlined 17 secretly recorded telephone conversations between Smith and the mole offering the bribe. Seven of those calls fell on days the House was in session and Smith was on the job. On six of those days, it was Smith doing the calling, according to the complaint.

There’s no way to tell on those seven days what exactly Smith was doing in Springfield when the calls were made because investigators don’t allude to times for the calls in the complaint.

Smith’s lawyer, Victor Henderson, declined comment Wednesday when asked about whether his client had those conversations with the government informant on days the Legislature was in session and Smith was in Springfield.

Henderson is fighting to keep the criminal complaint that refers to all of the calls and tells the narrative of Smith’s alleged crime out of the committee’s record, but the two House managers believe it should be included as a piece of evidence against Smith.

Today’s hearing of the House Select Committee on Discipline will be broadcast live starting at 9:30 this morning, and I should have either the embed or a link to the video. So, make sure to check back.

* Meanwhile, there’s a link between former West Side Democratic state Sen. Rickey Hendon and the two Board of Review employees who were indicted yesterday, according to Mark Brown

In the latest case, federal agents arrested two employees of Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Larry Rogers Jr. for taking bribes to fix property tax appeals. […]

The new arrests came on the heels of Tuesday’s roundup of seven individuals accused of paying kickbacks in exchange for government grants — most of them connected in some way to former state Sen. Rickey Hendon of Chicago.

The latest case also has Hendon connections. Former Hendon campaign treasurer Dean Nichols, an Oak Park accountant who was charged in the grant kickback scheme, is also alleged to have served as the go-between for the dirty cop and the bribe-taking tax appeals analysts. In addition, Hendon formerly worked at the Board of Review under Rogers. Neither of them could be reached for comment.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


11 Comments
  1. - PublicServant - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 8:14 am:

    So when is Hollywood going to be indicted?


  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 10:16 am:

    “That building is so impressive. You can’t walk in there without thinking it’s the people’s business,” David Morrison, deputy director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said of the statehouse. “If he’s going to be at the Capitol, the notion he was engaging in allegedly corrupt activities is all the more egregious.”–

    The building is impressive and can be quite inspiring. But its history is full of scalawags who didn’t so much admire the sight of it’s grandeur, but the smell of the meat-a-cookin’ in the hallways and around the rail.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 10:35 am:

    ===His failure to appear before us today speaks volumes===

    The Man is facing Federal Corruption Charges … the “G” said, they were not going to help the IL House, but if smith wanted to testify, they “wouldn’t mind” … and THEN ya ding him on it?

    Look, its your Chamber, do as you will, and in this case, this Dope is a fiasco to the institution. But, … to ding him for not testifying/showing up/etc., at any point in these hearing is a bit faux shock.

    The committee should have been shocked if Smith showed up TODAY!

    Whatever … just a bit of drama not needed.


  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 10:56 am:

    Willie, I don’t know if it would have done Smith any good with the committee, but he missed a trick on the public relations front.

    Smith could have shown up, read a statement to the effect that the federal charges are false, he intends to fight them, but he cannot at this time give up his 5th Amendment rights and answer questions before the committee while the federales are listening in.

    He could have closed by asking the committee to delay any action based on the charges until after he gets his day in court.


  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 11:00 am:

    ===Willie, I don’t know if it would have done Smith any good with the committee, but he missed a trick on the public relations front.

    Smith could have shown up, read a statement to the effect that the federal charges are false, he intends to fight them, but he cannot at this time give up his 5th Amendment rights and answer questions before the committee while the federales are listening in.===

    Concur, word … but at this point in the game, I dunno if Smith is/was savy enough to pull that off. Heck, Smith isn’t savy enough to make those tapes sound like anything but what they sound like they are.

    Agree with ya, word, but maybe we both are asking WAY too much of this guy.


  6. - Dirt Digger - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 11:44 am:

    I realize that ICPR has to supply insipid quotes on demand but really? Stealing is less bad if it’s not right smack in the middle of a state capitol?

    That makes no sense whatsoever.


  7. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 1:20 pm:

    === he missed a trick on the public relations front. ===

    1) Smith can’t get any good press.

    2) P.R. is not a priority.

    3) Mathias would have found a different reason.

    4) When is Suzi Schmidt’s hearing?


  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 2:01 pm:

    Henderson’s arguments are wince-inducing. I wonder which judge would let this little gem play in court?
    “We appreciate the people who are supporting him, especially the people like the Japanese, black people and people who have ancestors who were mistreated in this country.”

    Equating bribery charges with slavery or concentraion camps. Riiight. Stay classy.


  9. - Crime Fighter - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 2:09 pm:

    This kind of thing shouldn’t end Smith’s state career. Quinn could appoint him to head an agency and the Senate could confirm him unanimously -just as they usually do for folks with ethical issues.


  10. - J - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 3:55 pm:

    Rich, who was the “No” vote?


  11. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jul 19, 12 @ 4:18 pm:

    Remember, you must first “recess”, then you vote to expel.

    This is the 1st step to make this all end.

    Amen!


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