SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Derrick Smith and MJM

Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014

* I talk to a lot of folks at the Statehouse on a daily basis and I have never once heard anyone say this

Well, another state legislator is heading to prison. You won’t hear much outrage in Springfield. Or dismay for that matter.

In the grand scheme of things, the conviction of state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, on bribery charges is picayune. You’ll hear it whispered around the statehouse: “He ‘only’ took $7,000.”

Come to think of it, I have heard it said, but in sardonic derision, as in “If you’re going to take a bribe, why only $7,000?” In other words, it’s the usual dark humor of if you’re on the take, make sure to get enough cash to pay your legal bills.

* Back to the column at hand

A few years back, some Springfield wag printed up bumper stickers that said, “My Governor is a Bigger Crook than Your Governor.” This kind of cynicism has metastases through the electorate leaving political tumors of apathy, inevitability and suspicion.

There is no greater exploiter of this political cynicism than House Speaker Mike Madigan. Despite Smith’s indictment, Madigan threw his support behind his reelection this year. Madigan’s spokesman told the Chicago Tribune, the speaker supports Democratic incumbents and believes in “innocent until proven guilty.”

Well, some of the time.

I watched Madigan vote to impeach Blagojevich before he was ever brought to trial on corruption charges. When we hope for statesmanship in Springfield, we all too often end up with raw politics.

Good point.

And the “raw politics” aspect has played out pretty well for Madigan at the Statehouse. Black Caucus members, particularly in the Senate (where MJM is not loved at all), approvingly noted the Speaker’s defense of Smith in the March Democratic primary. Madigan stuck his neck way out for an embattled African-American and they were impressed.

Even so, supporting Smith in the 2014 Democratic primary will rightly dog MJM for a very long time to come.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


20 Comments
  1. - MrJM (@MisterJayEm) - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 9:56 am:

    Madigan’s spokesman told the Chicago Tribune, the speaker supports Democratic incumbents and believes in “innocent until proven guilty.”

    Keep in mind that the crime in question is always “aggravated House Speaker”.

    Once you’re guilty of that, you’re toast.

    – MrJM


  2. - A guy... - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 9:59 am:

    Only in Springfield would some identify some level of “honor” in any of this. The atmosphere is toxic there.


  3. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    Oftentimes, our greatest strengths are our greatest vulnerabilities.

    Madigan’s loyalty to his caucus is the keystone to his success and his longevity. When Madigan says he has your back on a tough vote, you believe him. That is particularly important for legislators in strong Democratic precincts because they oftentimes lack the fundraising ability of battleground districts.

    It is also why Madigan spent millions defending a dwindling caucus of downstate legislators over the past 12 years even though the numbers were against him and the “smarter” move would have been to spend those dollars in the suburbs.

    It isn’t just political calculus. Madigan is at the head of the class, but he is still old school, when it comes to his colleagues, his family, his friends, his staff.

    Bidding farewell to Bill Luking last night, I felt like I was staring at the edge of Tolkien history. How long before we bid or final farewell to the last dragon, the last giant, the last magic? Whatever the Tribune editorial board and other invaders of
    Middle Illinois might say about Springfield’s arcane ways, there ought to be some sadness in the passing of the best of it.


  4. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    “You’ll hear it whispered around the statehouse: “He ‘only’ took $7,000.””

    Technically, if Reeder wandered around the Dome and whispered it to himself, it’s true. “Journalists-in-residence” can roll that way and rationalize that they’re keeping kosher.

    Smith was one of the dumber crooks in a while — or at least since Trips. He made for a nice easy score for some federales climbing the career ladder.

    But not all crimes are or can be prosecuted.

    Every year, some of the greatest “business leasers” in the state roll down to Springfield and threaten to toss people out of of work unless the taxpayers give them money, in the form of tax breaks or grants.

    That might not be extortion by the letter of the law, but they sure do have the spirit.

    Nothing personal. It’s just business.


  5. - walker - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 10:13 am:

    The Reeder column way oversimplifies the whole situation.

    Did Scott Reeder forget that Derrick Smith was also expelled from the House prior to his trial, with Madigan’s obvious participation? He was treated just like Blago, in that sense.

    What made the difference was that Smith could get reelected in the interim. And Madigan could leverage that in a different way.

    This had little to do with Madigan maintaining his Dem majority, and a lot with getting support within the legislature for his agenda. Madigan gained that internal support by supporting someone whom he knew would probably be removed anyway. And it was very unlikely that the Dems would lose this seat in any case.

    “Raw politics” yes. But not like ordinarily thought. It was internal politics.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 10:14 am:

    - YDD - great take.

    It really has flipped to what loyalty MJM shows and uses as chits, is now sadly seen as bad, with very little seen as redeeming.

    What I miss? Loyalty, camaraderie, working to find common ground, and governing with partners seem in all.

    The polarization is what is going to sink the whole thing, not the ideal of better government is going to fill the vacuum.


  7. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 10:32 am:

    The only time I’ve heard surprise expressed at a corruption penalty was in 2007 when some Water Department workers were put in handcuffs by the FBI for alleged patronage work. The surprise expressed at the time was that they DIDN’T take bribes but were subjected to somewhat severe federal treatment anyway.

    It was just the once though; re bribery I’ve always said exactly what Rich did: take risk and loss of income from jail into account if you’re going to break the law. Smith is giving up considerably more than $7K


  8. - walker - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 10:39 am:

    O’Willy: Amen brother.

    Great comment, (though I had to reinterpret a bit of the grammar) :)

    Yes, there has been and still can be “loyalty, camaraderie, working to find middle ground, and governing with partners” and I might add “honor” in Springfield.

    But partisan polarization, and the self-comforting desire to see the worst in whomever’s seen as on the “other side”, can trump all of that.


  9. - Steve - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 10:43 am:

    -Even so, supporting Smith in the 2014 Democratic primary will rightly dog MJM for a very long time to come. -

    Mike Madigan was co-chair of the 2006 re-elect Blagojevich campaign effort when Blago was already known as “Public Official A”. There’s nothing but sunshine around MJM. Only news junkies and highly informed voters are going to remember that MJM supported Smith.


  10. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 11:19 am:

    Thanks Willy.

    As wordslinger points out, what separated Smith from the herd was neither his moral compass nor the audacity of his greed, but his lack of shall we say “sophistication”, My three year old would have known something was fishy.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 11:20 am:

    - walker -, thanks , apologies to the grammar.

    ===But partisan polarization, and the self-comforting desire to see the worst in whomever’s seen as on the “other side”, can trump all of that.===

    It’s like something that sucks the life out of a legislative body, and eats away the fabric of a working government.


  12. - Knome Sane - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    The Feds targeting “small fries” like Derrick Smith and LaShaun Ford is not “picking low-hanging fruit”, it’s picking fruit off the ground. Springfield needs an enema and targeting low-yield targets ain’t the way to get ‘er done.


  13. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 1:19 pm:

    Springfield needs an enema and targeting low-yield targets ain’t the way to get ‘er done.

    Ignoring them doesn’t help either.


  14. - Raunerbot - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    ==eats away at the fabric of a working government==

    run by people that Willy deems qualified to run our government.


  15. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    Anonymous:

    Madigan is to US Attorneys Office as Moby Dick is to Captain Ahab.

    They are picking fruit up off the ground, but only because they are convinced it is a trail that will lead somewhere.

    We know, of course, they are walking around the tree in circles.

    The Feds went through Derrick Smith’s life with a sieve.

    Any other evidence of bribery? Any other wrongdoing?

    Nope.

    How much money did we spend to bait, trap and filet Smith for taking a $7000 bribe?

    Oh but wait, it sends a message, right?

    LOL

    Yeah, the message is “don’t be an idiot.”

    Meanwhile, Ty Warner get a stern warning for
    Millions in tax evasion.

    That message is pretty clear too.


  16. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    Meanwhile, Ty Warner get a stern warning for
    Millions in tax evasion.

    That’s a sign of a bad judge, not a worthless prosecution.


  17. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 2:37 pm:

    How much money did we spend to bait, trap and filet Smith for taking a $7000 bribe?

    Oh but wait, it sends a message, right?

    So the Koschman case (via Dan Webb) was worthwhile or not?


  18. - A guy... - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 2:47 pm:

    If MJM’s got Derrick’s back, just guess who’s back he doesn’t have. Nothing to praise about this BS.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 18, 14 @ 3:27 pm:

    ===run by people that Willy deems qualified to run our government.===

    And the voters, don’t forget the voters…


  20. - concern1 - Thursday, Jun 19, 14 @ 8:12 am:

    to ” a guy”…yes you are correct the legislators in Springfield have become TOXIC and its time to get rid of the TOXIC WASTE!!!!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* LIVE Comptroller Munger press conference coverage
* Yet another clock starts ticking down
* Hey, Cardinal fans...
* Rauner makes cheery visit to Illinois State Museum
* The Tier 2 difference
* *** UPDATED x3 *** Attorney General goes to court
* Credit Unions – Protecting Financial Futures
* GOP legislator wants "temporary, balanced budget"
* Food for thought
* The blame game
* Meanwhile, in the real world...
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Start a running lifestyle with WalknRun fitness app
        * Android 5.1.1 rolling out to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Duos
        * In Wake Of Apple Music, SoundCloud Update Focuses On Music Discovery, Better User Experience
        * Leaked Foxconn documents detail iPhone 6s camera
        * Will Google release its Android M preview for some older Nexus hardware?
        * CyanogenMod teases new Gello browser
        * Smartphone theft down by 32%, CA Kill Switch Law in effect

        * Zirx and Luxe Are Also Considering Reclassifying Workers as Employees
        * Flix Plus Customizes Every Corner of Netflix's New Interface
        * Apple Music’s Beats 1 Is Like Radio Before It Sucked
        * Revive Drooping Flowers With a Safety Pin
        * Hulk Hogan Sex Trial Postponed
        * Tip Tester: How Other Sriracha Sauces Compare to the Original Rooster
        * Build a Modern Bookcase Using a Single Sheet of Plywood

        * Tatis Jr. among White Sox finds on int'l market
        * Who will finish second in homers for the 2015 White Sox?
        * White Sox not deterred by delays, top Cards
        * White Sox shows signs in two wins vs. Cards
        * White Sox show signs in two wins vs. Cards
        * White Sox 7, Cardinals 1: Living after midnight
        * Danks draws O's Ubaldo in Chicago opener

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        July 2015
        June 2015
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Rauner, drop the anti-union shtick - Chicago Tr.....
        * Gov. Rauner to lawmakers: "Pass a budget, or no.....
        * Illinois court asked to clarify state payments .....
        * Government Shutdown Seems Inevitable As State L.....
        * Illinois court asked to clarify state payments .....
        * Homewood officials urge riders to advocate for .....
        * Illinois court asked to clarify state payments .....


        * Indiana law spurs 'fireworks tourism' from Illinoisans
        * Illinois River hits record flood stage at Beardstown
        * Chicago teachers protest planned cuts after pension payment
        * Salaita hired in Lebanon after losing U of Illinois offer
        * Illinois EPA: State has landfill capacity for 21 more years
        * Illinois AG asks judge to OK payments without state budget
        * Quincy police held suspected shooter before releasing him
        * Town of Fairdale rezoned to make tornado recovery easier
        * Belleville woman pleads guilty in newborn son's suffocation
        * Champaign man who admitted killing U of I student sentenced

        * Illinois EPA: State has landfill capacity for 21 more years
        * Attorney General Lisa Madigan seeks court ruling on state payments during budget impasse
        * State lawmakers point fingers over budget impasse; temporary budget in limbo
        * Former Illinois treasurer employees under Dan Rutherford sue over firings
        * Lawmakers point fingers over budget impasse; temporary budget in limbo
        * Illinois medical marijuana patients now number 2,600
        * Budget impasse shuts down Lincoln's Challenge program for troubled youths
        * Illinois House defeats 1-month budget; same bill coming from Senate
        * Rauner vetoes pay raises for state lawmakers
        * Illinois Senate advances plan to increase school funding

        * Sun Trading CEO Bernard Dan steps down
        * Hillary Clinton e-mails show a friendly face to CME's Duffy
        * Are sommeliers becoming obsolete?
        * Milk dumped as supplies overwhelm U.S. dairies
        * So, can the state spend money without a budget or not?


          * Inside the failed prosecution of Chicago Detective Dante Servin
          * Failed 'Crash-and-grab' thieves attempt hit on Beverly store
          * Lawsuit: Sex offenders should be allowed to attend church services on school grounds
          * 2 held following fatal stabbing over Facebook threats
          * Man wanted for stomping puppy to death arrested in Chicago
          * After trade deal, Obama in Wisconsin today to repair rift with labor
          * Wining, dining, hunting: COD releases Breuder expenses after Tribune suit
          * Hedge fund manager's swank offices concealed a Ponzi scheme
          * Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker entering 2016 presidential race
          * Paralyzed cop says he's being evicted because city failed to pay bills


          * For same-sex marriage opponents, the fight is far from over
          * Emails show Emanuel, top officials aware of Clinton's private address
          * After pension payment, Chicago Public Schools to make $200M in cuts
          * CPS, Emanuel warn of deep cuts, layoffs to school district
          * After marriage equality, what's next for the LGBT movement?
          * The night Chicago politicians spent punching each other in the face
          * The legacy of Willie Dixon on his 100th birthday
          * Supreme Court rules all states must license and recognize same-sex marriages
          * Preckwinkle may reevaluate sales tax plan if Springfield acts on pensions
          * Democratic lawmaker 'mad as hell' over Rauner's veto of state budget


          * Illinois EPA: State has landfill capacity for 21 more years
          * Our Opinion: Winslow looks to heal divisions
          * Attorney General Lisa Madigan seeks court ruling on state payments during budget impasse
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Gov. Rauner's tone has changed, Sen. Andy Manar says
          * George Will: Some GOP candidates becoming unhinged
          * Eugene Robinson: In Charleston, 'the power of God's grace'
          * State lawmakers point fingers over budget impasse; temporary budget in limbo
          * Former Illinois treasurer employees under Dan Rutherford sue over firings
          * Illinois medical marijuana patients now number 2,600
          * Budget impasse shuts down Lincoln's Challenge program for troubled youths


          * 8th former UI women's player claims mistreatment
          * Homeless man to prison for pulling fire alarm at Carle
          * Streator firefighter injured at blaze
          * Streator firefighter injured at fire scene
          * Illinois River hits record flood stage at Beardstown
          * Town of Fairdale rezoned to make tornado recovery easier
          * Many but not all in GOP object as U.S., Cuba plan embassies
          * Solid hiring, lower U.S. unemployment rate, but wages flat
          * Gulf states reach $18.7 billion settlement with BP over oil spill
          * Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker entering 2016 presidential race


          * Fox Lake woman pleads guilty to delivering drugs
          * Stevenson High a big work zone this summer
          * Lindenhurst resident announces run for president again
          * Suburban developers charged with fraud involving Palatine condo complex
          * Train derailment, fire prompts evacuation in Tennessee

          * House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
          * Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
          * The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
          * Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
          * Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
          * CBD Oil, and politics
          * Simon considering state Senate bid
          * Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
          * Shutdown? State may not notice
          * Rep. Bob Dold

          * Durbin Statement On Opening Of Embassies W......

          * Kirk supports Granite City stroke survivor......

          * The goofy Florida legislature. There is no merit in this pay.
          * NEA RA: A commitment to take on institutional racism.
          * More on the Supreme Court's decision that could affect concealed carry reciprocity
          * Property taxes to be topic of town hall forum July 15th in Wheaton
          * Reeder: The pending showdown between Rauner and AFSCME
          * Pastor Sees Chicago Cops Running Around Street. What He Finds Astounds Him
          * Rainbows Of Flavor & Fun
          * Lady Gaga mistakes Chicago Mariachi and Folklórico Festival for Gay Pride Parade
          * Supremes okay independent redistricting commissions to prevent gerrymandering
          * Breen exposes partisan games in state budget showdown [video]


          * State, Teamsters Reach Tentative Agreement - Workers at IDOT, DHS, IDES, and CMS in Cook County to Vote on New Contract
          * Governor Rauner Extends Tax Filing and Payment Deadlines for Businesses and Individuals Impacted by Recent Tornado - Deadlines Pushed to December 31, 2015
          * Illinois EPA Releases Annual Report on Landfill Capacity
          * IDNR Urges Public to Leave Fireworks Displays to Those Who Are Licensed and Trained - Fireworks Show Sponsors Reminded to Check Credentials of Fireworks Vendors
          * Governor Receives Initial Criminal Justice Commission Report




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller