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!!!!


TrackBack URI

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Where do these people learn to talk like that???
* Suarez stands by her ad, produces evidence
* Question of the day
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Lifestyles of the rich and famous
* A very good point
* Rauner outspent 2-1 on Chicago TV last month
* So far, it's still stuntish
* Politico report: Enyart slipping fast, Callis dumped
* *** UPDATED x1 - Another poll shows single digits *** Poll: Durbin with a single digit lead and slightly below 50
* *** UPDATED x1 - Suarez produces evidence *** A big swing and an even bigger miss
* *** UPDATED x1 - Dold response *** Schneider up with first TV ad
* This year's best test of party strength
* A boldfaced lie
* Rate Gov. Quinn's new TV ad
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* 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

          
        * Sony at IFA 2014: rumor roundup
        * Leaked pictures of Sony’s ILCE-QX1 to support E-mount lenses
        * China Mobile Begins Accepting Preorders for Unreleased iPhone 6
        * Lumia 830 leaks trump previous rumors, only 10 megapixel camera?
        * Galaxy Note 4 camera, working iPhone 6 leaks, iWatch times & more – Pocketnow Daily
        * Rooted Android devices being denied access to Barclays bank apps
        * Moto G2 retail box caught on camera at retailer’s warehouse?

        * Chinese Manufacturers Look To Windows 8.1 Tablets
        * Lenovo Y70 17” Gaming Touch Laptop
        * Lenovo Tab S8, Powered By Intel
        * Lenovo ERAZER X310 & X315: Affordable Gaming Desktop PCs
        * SoftBank’s Pepper Robot To Go On Sale In The U.S.
        * At $200, the Intel-powered Lenovo Tab S8 looks like a good value tablet
        * Implant Could Stop Seizures During Sleep

        * White Sox deliberate, but Rodon not called up
        * Mitchell not called up, but still in team's plans
        * Taylor eager to make most of September promotion
        * Abreu takes break from lineup in cautious move
        * Season Review: 2014 Charlotte Knights
        * White Sox call up Josh Phegley, Marcus Semien, Jordan Danks, Scott...
        * Prospect Rodon not among White Sox callups


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

        Archives
        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


        * Quinn lives on minimum wage for a week..
        * Joseph Academy closes DuPage County location de.....
        * Quinn: High-Speed Rail Project To Get $102M Sta.....
        * Big momentum for a minimum wage hike..
        * Gov. Pat Quinn first to face felony concealment.....
        * Bruce Rauner seems to think Illinois voters are.....
        * New school year puts safety in the spotlight..


        * Study: Playing music helps sharpen kids' brains
        * EPA OKs FutureGen plan for CO2 storage
        * Kirk: US must take hard line against Islamic State
        * Gubernatorial candidates discuss jobs, veterans
        * Suburban Chicago man sentenced for killing infant
        * Rauner criticizes Quinn on veterans
        * Illinois woman rescued after day stuck in mud
        * First medical marijuana tally expected next week
        * School starts in Chicago with more safety guards
        * Climatologist says August warmed up in Illinois

        * Rauner criticizes Quinn on veterans
        * Gubernatorial candidates discuss jobs, veterans
        * Quinn: Eating crackers on minimum wage challenge
        * Illinois prisons struggle with backup power issues
        * State starts accepting medical marijuana requests
        * Audit finds state lax in reviewing eligibility for children’s health insurance program
        * Does the governor need to live in the Executive Mansion?
        * Statehouse Insider: Hands off investments
        * State of unions: AFSCME wins some, loses some on outsourcing
        * State of unions: Domination of Illinois' workforce becomes campaign issue

        * Jeb Bush to campaign here for Rauner
        * Anne Dias Griffin claims 'coercion' when signing prenup
        * Rauner's $100,000 question
        * Amtrak renews complaint against freight line over Chicago-Carbondale delays
        * A new, improved commuter bike for $325? Well, sort of


        * New school year brings changes to Gresham
        * IDOT political hiring is setback for Quinn
        * quit dragging feet on fracking
        * What was Ald. Pope thinking?
        * 30 years for man who smothered baby, tossed him in garbage
        * Three dead, at least 37 hurt in Labor Day weekend shootings
        * Four dead, 36 hurt in Labor Day weekend shootings
        * Kids pay the price for weak oversight of charter schools


        * Spokesman: Chicago police considering body cameras
        * Cops did not find suicide note of man who killed wife, disabled children
        * Surf park proposed for Montrose Beach
        * Woman sues company, driver in Friday's shuttle bus crash at O'Hare
        * Lawyer: Federal agents investigating shootings by Chicago cops
        * Woman in her 80s says in lawsuit she was trampled by runners at Little Italy festival
        * Family files suit blaming Port Barrington bar for fatal crash
        * Rauner declines to say how personal relationship with Emanuel will affect political one
        * Not guilty pleas in red light camera bribery scheme
        * Prosecutors: Man plotted obstruction after slaying off-duty cop


        * Dana Thomas House Drying Out, But More Water Works Needed
        * FutureGen Takes Another Step Forward
        * Decatur's Kirkland - From Beethoven To The Beatles
        * Big Predators In Illinois Inspire New Law
        * WUIS/SJ-R Business Report: Casey's Expansion; Parsons In Court; Farmland Prices Fall
        * Opposition Research Key Part Of Political Dark Arts
        * Digging up political dirt? That's their job
        * State Starts Accepting Medical Marijuana Requests
        * Newborn Found Alive In Jacksonville Trash Bin
        * DNR Releases Fracking Rules


        * Rauner criticizes Quinn on veterans
        * Quinn: Eating crackers on minimum wage challenge
        * Illinois prisons struggle with backup power issues
        * State starts accepting medical marijuana requests
        * Couple’s wedding gifts help the community
        * Angela Bertoni: How to raise awareness of domestic violence in October
        * Catherine Rampell: Tech firms’ poor record of diversity
        * Audit finds state lax in reviewing eligibility for children’s health insurance program
        * Does the governor need to live in the Executive Mansion?
        * Our Opinion: Driving into floodwater a deadly practice


        * Champaign recognizes citizen heroes
        * Overturned semi leaks fuel near New Athens
        * The Nifty Fifty: Prep soccer players to watch in 2014
        * Athletes of the Week: Grammer and Bauer
        * Man charged with aggravated robbery
        * Officers working outside of city concern aldermen
        * EPA OKs FutureGen plan for CO2 storage
        * Hayasaki comes up aces for Central
        * Ram moves on in doubles
        * Football fans have empty feeling


        * St. Charles North freshman Ernst excels at Elgin meet
        * Schofield, Kepski key for Carmel
        * New high-definition video scoreboard, some special seating for next season
        * St. Charles East handles West Chicago
        * Marmion, St. Edward's Mattas shine at Elgin Country Club

        * Roskam hires wounded veteran in West Chica...
        * Inactive Congress Discussed - Alton Daily ...
        * Roskam, Kirk speak to local business owner...
        * Roskam Talks Taxes - Alton Daily News
        * Nadler introduces resolution condemning an...
        * US Rep. Lipinski accepting service academy...
        * Dem Explains Why He Voted 'Present' on DAC...
        * Immigration dominates Lipinski's town hall...
        * Schock travels to India to promote humanit...
        * Congressman leads humanitarian trip to Ind...

        * Thomson Prison Staffing Continues With Job......
        * Sen. Dick Durbin on Election, Congress, More...
        * Sen. Dick Durbin on Election, Congress, More...
        * Sen. Dick Durbin on Election, Congress, More...
        * Sen. Dick Durbin on Election, Congress, More...

        * Kirk: US must take hard line against Islam......

        * My Fathers Day Present
        * Study: Businesses In Low-Income, Majority Minority Areas Struggle To Access Credit
        * Loan denied stamp
        * Election 2014
        * Guest Post: Harris v. Quinn: Another Nail In The Coffin Or Shot In The Arm For Labor?
        * Women's Rights Advocates, IL Lawmakers Rally For Reproductive Choice
        * Preckwinkle at Reproductive choice event
        * Reproductive choice event 2
        * Reproductive choice event
        * ISIS claims it has executed a second American journalist


        * When it comes to jobs and hiring, Pat Quinn is veteran unfriendly
        * Pat Quinn’s Blagojevich-style Hiring Hurts Veterans
        * Rauner Rolls Out Veterans Coalition
        * ICYMI: Capitol Fax: “A Very Good Point”
        * Like All Illinoisans, Veterans Are Hurting Under Pat Quinn




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