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Question of the day

Monday, Dec 3, 2012

* The AP reports that Leader Cross isn’t yet ready to take action against indicted state Rep. LaShawn Ford

The top Republican in the Illinois House says it’s too early to make a recommendation on whether the Legislature should take action on the indictment of a state representative on federal bank fraud charges.

House Minority Leader Tom Cross calls the charges “very serious and very troubling” but says lawmakers need more information.

* And neither is Rep. Sacia

Derrick Smith, who maintains his innocence, was arrested earlier for allegedly taking a bribe and kicked out of the House.

“I see them as two very, very different issues,” said Republican State Rep. Jim Sacia, who helped lead the charge to oust Smith because the alleged bribe had to do with his official duties as a representative.

But Sacia said Ford’s accusations do not involve his official office responsibilities, so he’s not calling for his resignation.

Sacia, a former FBI agent, filed the original House charges against then-Rep. Smith.

* The Question: Do you agree with Rep. Sacia that since Rep. Ford’s indictment didn’t include his official responsibilities that the House should not vote to expel Ford? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.


- Posted by Rich Miller        


32 Comments
  1. - reformer - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:20 am:

    It is a valid distinction. It’s also useful in protecting the half dozen House Republicans who have been convicted of DUI over the last few years, even though one could argue they also brought disrepute upon the House.


  2. - Skeeter - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:25 am:

    I voted no.

    Neither should have been expelled. Charges are not a conviction. We should not be kicking anybody out until they are convicted.

    Of course, if they had an ounce of dignity, they would resign, but that’s another matter completely.


  3. - OneMan - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:31 am:

    I would say hold fire for now. Waiting to hear some more about what is going on.


  4. - tomhail - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:32 am:

    Let the system decide if he is guilty first. Look out how the Derrick Smith thing turned out…..


  5. - siriusly - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:37 am:

    I voted yes, I agree with Sacia.

    I said it last week. Not related to official duties; they need to wait until he has his day in court. Or at least until we see some of the evidence, none of that is out there yet.

    The Derrick Smith thing was so extreme they had no choice. They had the evidence, audio transcripts, his actions were related to corruption and his official legislative duties.

    These two alleged crimes are not the same.

    There are past and current members of the GA who have been accused of other crimes, not related to official duties, and they continued to serve. I think that is a fair standard to apply here.


  6. - Ahoy! - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:40 am:

    I agree. I also think there was some pretty hard evidence against Smith which also matters. This case is more complex and we are innocent until proven guilty.


  7. - x ace - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:47 am:

    Yes - based on the distinction and known operative facts

    ( But What If: The State Rep. was also on Bd. Of Dir. of his Country Club and was charged with Attempted Murder or Murder of a fellow Dir. because he didn’t like the other guy’s vote on a Country Club policy matter ? Does the distinction disappear ?)


  8. - Mike Huntoon - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:50 am:

    Because the allegations against Ford include the fact that the misuse of funds included expenditures for Ford’s 2006 campaign for state representative, this is something that is the clearly the legislature’s business,whether part of an official act or not.

    While a vote for expulsion may be premature, there should be an official House investigation and (perhaps even) hearings regarding Ford’s actions.

    If it is shown that his misuse of funds contributed directly to his election, he should (very obviously) be removed from office post haste.


  9. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:51 am:

    No, they’re just rationalizing.

    I think the bigger issue is one got indicted before the election and one after.


  10. - walkinfool - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:54 am:

    Yes, I agree with Sacia. The two cases are indeed different when it comes to the perceived integrity of the House.

    These allegations are unrelated to official duties, and supposedly occurred before Ford was even a state rep.


  11. - shore - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 11:59 am:

    No. I just don’t think they should be bothering with these debates. We have a legal system that’s where this gets decided.


  12. - titan - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 12:23 pm:

    I don’t think it is appropriate to say that nothing unrelated to the public duties would be enough, but they need to get moving faster on things related topublic duties.
    I do think we’re short of hearing enough in this latest matter to think they need to get rolling on expulsion right now.


  13. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 12:25 pm:

    I voted no because there should be a standard of behavior for those who write le was we are subject to.

    However, the time from indictment to trial is way too long.


  14. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 12:31 pm:

    Leave him alone because kicking him out will just end badly.


  15. - Spliff - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    I voted no. If they kick him out he will just be sworn back in in January and we would be in the same situation we are with Derick Smith. That being said neither should be removed until they are found guilty in a court of law.


  16. - Hammer - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    I voted yes, I agree with the reasoning to not pursue expelling for several reasons. 1) Any wrongdoing here does not flavor Ford’s work in the legislature, 2) Smith’s situation was an absolute disgrace and (trial notwithstanding) seemed pretty cut and dry with Smith the legislator asking for money to maneuver the levers of government 3) anecdotally, people in the state respect(ed) Ford and feel that he’s owed an opportunity to get past this (or more details at least), Smith was a hack who didn’t add much either way


  17. - Left Leaner - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 1:24 pm:

    Yes. Based on the information known at this time.


  18. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 1:38 pm:

    I voted no because matters other than official duties should be up for consideration as well. In this case, I don’t think expulsion is warranted, at least not without further evidence, but certainly some egregious crimes with overwhelming evidence (in the judgment of the legislators) should not require years worth of waiting to satisfy the public interest.


  19. - L Y O - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 2:30 pm:

    The thing that bothers me about this, is there is no “timeout” option for legislators. Policemen accused of felony wrongdoing are pulled from the streets and typically work desk jobs till the indictment works itself to a conclusion. Prosecutors and PD’s are pulled from courtroom duties, and judges are taken off the bench. Why? Because fairly or not, they are held to a higher standard. Aparently, there is no such option for the legislature. Rep. Ford’s innocence until proven guilty is a legal standard. He’s already guilty of losing the faith of many people. I’d be less likely to call for his ouster if they could place him in the corner with the dunce cap twice a day.


  20. - NIref - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 2:36 pm:

    No, as reflected above, the funds were misused for campaign payments. That allegation alone crosses into the realm of abuse of his public office.


  21. - 47th Ward - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 3:10 pm:

    Yes, I agree with Sacia that they are two very different issues in terms of Smith’s v. Ford’s indictments, and I agree with Sacia that the House shouldn’t vote to expel Ford.

    But I think, given the recent precedent, the House would be wise to empanel a committee to look into the whole matter and ask for Ford’s side of the case, especially the matter of using loan proceeds on his campaign in 2006.

    Ford’s case brings the entire General Assembly into disrepute. He ought to be asked to explain himself to his colleagues. Otherwise, it reeks of a double standard and I don’t want criminal allegations cases handled arbitrarily in the future because who knows who will be next. It is in the House’s interest to have a formal process to handle these things.


  22. - 1776 - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 4:12 pm:

    He should be expelled if they want to remain consistent that he dishonored the General Assembly. If he used money for his campaign for state representative as alleged, then it does impact the assembly.

    That being said, I think innocent until proven guilty.


  23. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 4:20 pm:

    No, because:
    1) what word said.
    B) this is still ‘Murica and we should remember the old Constitution, dontcha think?


  24. - mokenavince - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 4:47 pm:

    I voted with Sacia these banks make you sign all kinds of crap which is slanted to where the bank can do no wrong and you guilty till proven innocent.This is a private deal, lets see who prevails.


  25. - bman - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 4:49 pm:

    I voted no. There is so much public scepticism of elected officials, all of them should be more proactive in seeing they are above reproach.


  26. - Maxine on Politics - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 5:09 pm:

    I voted no. Illinois is the most corrupt state in the union. We have to start cleaning up these dirty politicians. IF they are found guilty they should be banned from any public office for life. This should apply to all politicians concerning any serious convictions regardless if it is personal, not just job related. As we well know, voters are not capable of ousting them…hence they get re-elected. If banned by law, it is one more thing Illinois does not have to worry about.


  27. - Just Me - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 5:52 pm:

    I didn’t answer the question because I see a middle ground of perhaps censuring him. Law makers should be held to a higher standard, and even though maybe this allegation isnt directly tied to his office, it is still troublesome. But, as Rich said last week developers live on credit so is possible this is sloppy book keeping, but Ford can present that defense if he likes.


  28. - VanillaMan - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 7:58 pm:

    Pitiful.
    Not too long ago, people expected a higher standard of ethics and morals from government officials. Today, I’m reading excuses.

    Give these people an inch, and they’ll rob you blind. No excuses. You are an elected official.

    You want a better government? Don’t lower your standards like this.
    Pitiful!


  29. - Just Me - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 8:25 pm:

    What is interesting to me is that Ford says when the FBI visited him last year he thought it was a part of the investigation into the bank. That doesn’t smell right to me. There is a part of this story we’re not getting.


  30. - jake - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 9:49 pm:

    I voted yes, but for a different reason from Rep Sacia. The Derrick Smith case suggests that it is better to wait for a conviction, so that the individual can’t be elected again and not be eligible to be ejected for the same offense.


  31. - Soxfan - Monday, Dec 3, 12 @ 9:58 pm:

    Similar to Blago, 17 federal charges will be tough to overcome, but should’t “innocent until proven guilty” carry some weight? Especially when talking about those who earned the vote of their constituents? Same goes for Smith.


  32. - Not a fan - Tuesday, Dec 4, 12 @ 7:01 am:

    Seems obvious - if funds were used to finance his campaign, that is clearly related.


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