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.


* Good morning!
* Ginning up the base
* 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

          
        * Samsung Gear S coming to American mobile carriers
        * Two coasts, 10 days: Macworld’s thorough field test of Apple Pay
        * World’s narrowest bezel arrives in LG’s new smartphone LCD panel
        * Andy Rubin leaving Google to help new hardware tech startups
        * New tones for Lumia
        * Motorola DROID Turbo vs Moto X 2014 (Video)
        * Microsoft Band unboxing and first impressions (Video)

        * Norbert Finds and Verifies People's Email Addresses
        * Sony Has Shipped 3.3 Million PlayStation 4 Units In The Past 3 Months
        * Google Inbox Updated With “Highlights” Feature
        * Hungary’s Prime Minister Ditches Internet Tax Law
        * Gresso Regal Smartphone Runs Andorid
        * $200 Microsoft Band Smartwatch Hands On (video)
        * All of the Halloween Freebies and Deals You Can Get Today

        * White Sox offseason plan roundup: Third base
        * Minnie Miñoso belongs in the Hall of Fame
        * Development of young core in '15 can define Chicago's future
        * Abreu leads White Sox GIBBY hopefuls with five noms
        * Allen, Wills among new faces on Hall's Golden Era ballot
        * The offseason begins with a new Chicago manager and old arguments
        * World Series Game 7: Notes and discussion


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

        Archives
        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


        * In Obama's home state, a tough fight to keep go.....
        * Moran: Mailboxes can exhale with end of electio.....
        * Why I'm voting for Pat Quinn - Chicago Tribune..
        * Illinois Dems dig deep to keep governor's office..


        * Illinois Dems dig deep to keep governor's office
        * A look at Ebola guidelines in some states
        * 3 die when train strikes SUV in southern Illinois
        * Illinois schools report has host of new features
        * 3 killed when train strikes SUV
        * Waukegan teachers approve contract ending strike
        * 2 killed, 8 injured in construction zone wreck
        * Suburban judge attacked by inmate in courtroom
        * Man charged in death of Rockford attorney in crash
        * Inmate freed in landmark Illinois case

        * Attorney general seeks clarifications from Topinka’s former nonprofit
        * Inmate freed from Jacksonville prison in landmark Illinois case
        * Cross opposes income tax hike extension
        * Gay marriage, abortion issues take back seat in governor’s race
        * Madigan’s office seeks clarifications from former Topinka nonprofit
        * Cross says no to income tax hike extension, sales tax on services
        * Gay marriage, abortion issues take backseat in governor’s race
        * Illinois inmate freed in landmark capital punishment case
        * Rauner says women will decide governor's race
        * Judge denies ex-representative new bribery trial

        * Illinois Lottery manager scratches off $20 million investment
        * Lake Shore Drive ramps by McCormick Place set for early 2015 construction
        * Groupon forecast falls short of estimates
        * Groupon mulls overseas options as forecast falls short
        * Groupon hires advisers top find partners for Asia businesses


        * Garcia: I'm a serious mayoral candidate, not just a protest vote
        * A higher standard of criminal justice
        * Ex-Northwestern doctor to pay $475K to settle fraud claims
        * Sad day  when  Catholic  schools  close
        * Chicago bead merchant Ronnie Klein, whose Loop business drew stars, dead at 65
        * Chicago bead merchant Ronnie Klein, whose Loop business drew stars, dead at 65
        * Durbin, Oberweis square off for final time
        * State’s attorney investigating alderman’s prize offer to voters
        * Face it: Animator has found a great way to pass time on his commute
        * Refund those unfair yellow-light tickets


        * Off-duty police officer beaten and robbed in the Loop
        * Alleged lieutenant of drug kingpin 'El Chapo' seeks minimum prison term
        * Installation begins on Wallenda's tightrope over Chicago River
        * Teen wounded in Morgan Park shooting, at least 3 others injured across city
        * Waukegan district, teachers come to terms after monthlong strike
        * Judge again orders Crystal Lake South bleachers to come down
        * Naperville high school cancels activities after bomb threat
        * Officials: Defendant in Maywood court attacked judge
        * Rauner, Quinn squabble over who deserves credit for digital lab


        * Prisoner Freed After Recanting Testimony "Angry"
        * The Choice Of Choice: Gov. Candidates On Abortion
        * Group Has A Goal Of Improving Access To Preschool In Macon County
        * Turn out for what? Will young voters make it to the polls, or stay home as usual?
        * As Infrastructure Crumbles, Trillions Of Gallons Of Water Lost
        * Authorities: Springfield Woman's BAC Three Times The Legal Limit
        * 2014 Election Coverage: Citizens, here's your homework!
        * Aldermen skip chance to ask about city’s handling of police commander
        * Immigrant Rights Groups: Demand Oustrips Slots For Driver's Licenses
        * U-S Senate Candidates Differ On Ebola Response And More


        * Esther Cepeda: Elizabeth Pena: Trailblazer on the big screen
        * Andy Shaw: Voter turnout instrumental to reform
        * Ty Fahner: What if the Court rejects pension reform?
        * Attorney general seeks clarifications from Topinka’s former nonprofit
        * Quote of the Day: Friday, Oct. 31
        * Inmate freed from Jacksonville prison in landmark Illinois case
        * Cross opposes income tax hike extension
        * Gay marriage, abortion issues take back seat in governor’s race
        * Illinois inmate freed in landmark capital punishment case
        * Rauner says women will decide governor's race


        * Schools report has host of new features
        * Sprinkler head activates at Bottenfield
        * Area Calendar 10/31/14
        * It's time to trick-or-treat
        * Election interview: Prue Runkle
        * Election interview: Dan Ditchfield
        * Top of the Morning, Oct. 31, 2014
        * Election preview: Unit 4 referendum, part two
        * The top Illinois haunts
        * Substance abuse fight stories shine


        * Improving DuPage scores show 'teaching math finally makes sense'
        * Lake County to announce street gang arrests today
        * Dawn Patrol: Cold Halloween weather coming; Neuqua Valley to reopen
        * Riopell: Voters flood polls before Tuesday
        * State officials want to shoot up to 130 deer in Kane County forest preserves

        * Patrick Cannon defense strategy rare but n...
        * Feds fine Jesse Jackson Jr.'s campaign com...
        * Ex-Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. faces sen...
        * Representative Jan Schakowsky Sends Letter...
        * Rep. candidate pushes to uphold marriage b...
        * Reps. Schakowsky and Waxman Introduce Bill...
        * Statement by Representative Jan Schakowsky...
        * U.S. House Passes Resolution Condemning An...
        * FAA Rejects Call For New O'Hare Noise Stud...
        * Representatives Quigley, Duckworth, Schako...

        * Final Senate Debate...
        * Final Senate Debate...
        * Final Senate Debate...
        * Education Dept. cracks down on for-profit ......
        * Education Dept. cracks down on for-profit ......

        * How first lady, Rauner factor into their p......
        * ISIS Has More Land, Money, and Fighters Th......

        * Anatomy Of A Tribune Editorial
        * Local Book Notes: Dirty Wars
        * The Weekend Desk Report
        * Beachwood Photo Booth: Francisco Frankenstein
        * Trick Or Treat Safety Tips For Drivers & Pedestrians
        * The Week In Chicago Rock
        * Op-Ed: Google Car Gives The Blind More Independence While Saving Illinois Millions
        * Will Chuy be the new Karen Lewis?
        * Op-Ed: Google Car Could Give The Blind More Independence While Saving Illinois Millions
        * Poll: Downstate Could Go Either Way In Guv's Race


        * Editorial: Rauner best choice as governor to begin to reverse Illinois’ fortunes
        * Quinn to celebrate Rauner’s UI Labs accomplishment
        * Another Democrat Runs Away From Pat Quinn
        * Governor Pat Quinn Statement on Tentative Agreement to End Waukegan Teacher Strike, Return Students to Classrooms - State Education Chief Worked Overnight to Reach Common Ground, Students Heading Back to School on Monday
        * Governor Quinn Joins UI LABS to Break Ground on New Digital Manufacturing Hub - Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute Set to Open in 2015, Create Jobs




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