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*** UPDATED x2 *** This just in… House Republicans want special committee to investigate Rep. Derrick Smith

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012

*** UPDATE 1 *** Rep. Smith’s assistant says she hasn’t seen him yet today and that his car isn’t on the Capitol grounds.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Smith has an excused absence from the House.

[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* 11:23 am - Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) has yet to say anything publicly since his federal bribery arrest last week or his huge win last night over former Republican operative Tom Swiss. It’s possible he could resign as early as today, but there’s no official word yet. House Republican Leader Tom Cross isn’t waiting for Smith to decide. From a press release…

A group of Republican House lawmakers today called for the creation of a House Special Investigative Committee to further investigate all allegations and charges of impropriety that prompted the recent arrest of Representative Derrick Smith on Federal bribery charges. The House Committee, similar to that formed following the arrest of former Governor Rod Blagojevich, would determine what if any disciplinary action the House would recommend against Smith.

From that same press release, Cross explains how the process will work…

Under the rules of the Illinois House (House Rule 91), disciplinary proceedings against a member may be commenced by filing a petition with the Speaker calling for a Special Investigative Committee. The petition must be signed by at least one member of the House, and must contain suggested charges which, if true, may subject the member named in the petition to disciplinary action by the House.

If the petition is signed by 3 or more members of the House, the Speaker shall appoint 3 members of the majority caucus and the Minority Leader shall appoint 3 members of the minority caucus to a Special Investigative Committee.

Representatives today signing the petition requesting the creation of the Special Investigative Committee are: Representative Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein), Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), Representative Jim Sacia (R-Pecatonica), Representative Tim Schmitz (R-Batavia), and Representative Dave Winters (R-Shirland).

I’ll add a roundup of Smith stories in a few minutes.

…Adding... Rep. Smith won last night 77-23. Tom Swiss’ take

With about 92 percent of the precincts reporting, Smith had taken in 77 percent of the vote against 23 percent for challenger Tom Swiss, who raised eyebrows by running billboard ads depicting black individuals in the mostly African-American district when he himself is white.

“I was annihilated,” Swiss said. ““The ideologues came out, and those are the people that just would rather vote for a crook than someone who had worked for Republicans.”

Swiss also insinuated that getting arrested actually helped Smith, saying the race was based on name recognition and the stories generated by his arrest were the equivalent of “hundreds and thousands of dollars” of campaign advertising.

Getting arrested “helped” Smith by focusing lots of attention on Swiss’ race and partisan background.

* But this is about right

“My opponent was arrested by the FBI last week, but if you’re not on Madigan’s team, you’ll have a hard time,” Swiss said.

Yep. You will.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

47 Comments
  1. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:27 am:

    Something tells me he won’t be around long enough to receive any disciplinary action.


  2. - Aldyth - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:29 am:

    Something tells me that Small Town Liberal has the gift of prophecy.


  3. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:34 am:

    I think STL is right, but I’m still a little confused about the timing of the request. Couldn’t you have gotten some mileage out of it before the primary? Why today?


  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:34 am:

    Something tells me Tom Cross blasted this and prayed “Please don’t resign yet, please don’t resign yet!”


  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:37 am:

    ===Couldn’t you have gotten some mileage out of it before the primary? Why today?===

    Tom had 2 golf outings this week, and a tee time yesterday. Golf before elections, dontcha know …


  6. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:39 am:

    Something also tells me Jesse White is trying to get this guy out too … and fast.


  7. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:46 am:

    - I’m still a little confused about the timing of the request. -

    Yeah, I should have elaborated, I don’t see the point in demanding this now, Cross is going to look silly if Smith resigns this afternoon.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:47 am:

    CROSS TAKES LEAD & FORCES SMITH TO RESIGN

    Something tells me Cross has this ready to blast


  9. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:48 am:

    Rich -

    If you could post Tom Cross’ press release, that would be grand.

    Also from House Rule 92:

    “the contents of a petition for a special investigating committee shall be confidential except as to the member named,the members signing it, the Speaker, and the members of a special investigating committee.”

    In other words, if Cross made any allegations in his news release, he’s violating the very House rule he cites.

    And could, therefore, be subject to a disciplinary investigation.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:53 am:

    This Just In …

    CROSS - “TATTLE-TALE”, DOESN’T KNOW HOUSE RULES


  11. - Emanuel Kant - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 11:58 am:

    Yeah ydd. That’ll happen.


  12. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:06 pm:

    How much of his own money did Swiss put into his campaign? IIRC, he was close to, but under, $100K as of last week.

    Maybe he should have dropped another $15K on a poll. Or next time he can pass twenties in front of each polling place instead of palm cards.

    I’m clearly in the minority, but I think it’s going to be difficult to get Smith to resign. What is he going to do for an income if he quits?

    As for Cross’ complaint, I wonder what the feds think of a competing legislative investigation as they prepare for trial?


  13. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:08 pm:

    Does a guy like Tom Cross really want to go down this road? Seriously?

    Re Swiss cheese guy, just like in the Madigan challenger situation, too bad Republicans weren’t honest. Too bad they didn’t run honest Republicans as Republicans in the Republican primary. Could have kept this going months more thru November.

    But now time is up and GOP is out of the game. Bad judgment. Bad results. All that’s left is the whining.


  14. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:09 pm:

    “If you’re not on Madigan’s team, you’ll have a hard time,” Swiss said.

    LOL.

    The best run campaign by the best run team can rarely take credit for more than a five percent swing in the vote.

    Tom, you got creamed because you’re a conservative Republican running in an overwhelmingly Democratic district. And it didn’t help that many folks perceived you and your campaign to be racist.

    Madigan is Madigan, but he didn’t make you the way you are.

    If you’re looking for someone to blame for your loss, grab a mirror.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:12 pm:

    S N A R K …..

    MEMO

    To: Tom Cross - Minority Leader

    From: Representatives Ed Sullivan (R-Mundelein), Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth), Jim Sacia (R-Pecatonica), Tim Schmitz (R-Batavia), and Dave Winters (R-Shirland)

    Re: Smith Situation

    “Leader” Cross, before asking us, members of your Caucus and under your caucus Leadership, (for now), to put our names to your hair-brained ideas, please … read and KNOW the House Rules.

    Also, we the above think that Rep. Smith is charged with allegedly taking a bribe from a daycare owner, NOT a nursing home owner, or whatever your goofy press release said before the election.

    Getting these two “Facts” right would seem pretty important, and putting our names on something you want to make some political hay out of makes us all look bad when you seem to not know what the facts are.

    Thanks.


  16. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:16 pm:

    BTW, how’s the criminal investigation going into House Republican state staffers doing political work on Gaffney’s race?


  17. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:17 pm:

    @47th Ward -

    No question on the challenges of getting Smith to resign. In some ways, Cross is actually making things easier for Democrats.

    That said, Madigan convinced Scott Lee Cohen to step aside. Jesse White is also a pretty convincing guy.

    The federales can also make it part of a plea bargain.

    At the end of the day, however, one would hope that Rep. Smith considers not just his own personal interests, but the best interests of his constituents.


  18. - It's Just Me - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:21 pm:

    I’m willing to bet Cross waited until after the primary on purpose to do this. Iff he did it before people would assume he was doing it to help Swiss, and Cross should stay as far away from that mess as possible or incur Madigan’s wrath.


  19. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:21 pm:

    Here’s a link to the news release from House Republicans in violation of the very House rules they cite.


  20. - It's Just Me - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:26 pm:

    Technically that release doesn’t say what rule Smith violated, it merely copies/pastes what the newspapers said he did, do technically the press release isn’t in violation of any rule.


  21. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:28 pm:

    Good points YDD, and I don’t know Smith, but Cohen had a day job that paid pretty well. As far as I know, Smith only has this job to feed his family and pay his legal bills. Ex felons don’t have the brightest career prospects either.

    Madigan and White both risk further embarrassment if they are too generous in their efforts to force him to step down. So you’re spot-on when you say Cross is doing them a huge favor.

    Finally yes, we can hope every state official would consider the best interests of their constituents, but the truth is too many don’t. I’m not sure why we should expect Smith to do something few others have done in this state.

    I hope I’m wrong and this ends quickly.


  22. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:34 pm:

    @It’s Just Me:

    Um, disciplinary investigations are neither specific to nor really intended for violations of House Rules.

    They can result in a member’s removal from the House…which would be a bit over-the-top for eating on the House floor.

    From the news release:

    “A group of Republican House lawmakers today called for the creation of a House Special Investigative Committee to further investigate all allegations and charges of impropriety that prompted the recent arrest of Representative Derrick Smith on Federal bribery charges.”

    That’s a pretty darn straightforward violation of House Rule 92.


  23. - Easy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:42 pm:

    Seriously oswego willy? you really think this move on monday would have swayed 40% of the vote in Smith’s race. I know you are just a cross-hater, but periodically please bring some reality to the posts.

    And i know cynicism and snark reign supreme here, but maybe, just maybe, some members are pretty insulted that “allegedly” smith used his office to solicit a bribe. it’s their reputation too that smith denigrated.

    why not take this action–it isn’t political at all now. Smith won, now it’s time to clean up the mess and restore some integrity back to the house and if madigan isn’t willing to take the lead, i’m glad cross is.


  24. - D.P. Gumby - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    As a large number of the 2010 tea baggers demonstrated (yes, Walsh, I’m looking at you), it’s hard to say that voting for an alleged crook over a Republican who is lying and running in a Democratic Primary w/ deceptive race-based advertising doesn’t seem particularly irrational at all.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    - Easy -

    ===Seriously oswego willy? you really think this move on monday would have swayed 40% of the vote in Smith’s race. I know you are just a cross-hater, but periodically please bring some reality to the posts.===

    If you read here at all … I never thought Smith, at ANY point, was beatable, ‘peroid, end of sentence, new paragraph!’.

    No matter what Cross, Swiss or any GOP person did, they were not going to beat both MJM or Jesse. Read exactly what I write, then comment on what I “think” or what I “believe”.

    ===why not take this action–it isn’t political at all now. Smith won, now it’s time to clean up the mess and restore some integrity back to the house and if madigan isn’t willing to take the lead, i’m glad cross is.===

    It isn’t political NOW? Good luck with that one. Further, if anyone knows MJM or Jesse White, this ain’t going to go on too long (Scott Lee Cohen?), so … if you know your window is short to get on the record, isn’t THAT a political action?

    I think, instead of just bashing me, you should read what I write, and look at the situation(s) for what they really are, not what the players want you to think they are …


  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:51 pm:

    People, c’mon. This is the right thing to do. Smith has to be prevented from voting in Springfield.


  27. - Bill - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:54 pm:

    Everybody seems to assume that Smith would lose in the general if he stays in. That is not necesarily the case. Maybe Tommie Boy would put Swiss back on the ballot. Who knows? Besides what else does Smith have to do while he waits for trial? Its not like he can go back to his job at SOS.


  28. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:54 pm:

    @47th Ward -

    Um, you’re kidding, right?

    Madigan and White aren’t going to offer Smith anything to resign.

    The guy was just indicted for pay-to-play. He’s looking to make a deal with the Feds. No one is dumb enough to offer him anything.

    @Easy -

    It became political when you put it in a news release from the House Republican caucus.

    If they didn’t want to politicize things, they’d simply and quietly file a petition with the Speaker as the rules dictate.

    This is just an attempt to keep a political story alive.

    And, BTW, interfere with an ongoing federal case.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:55 pm:

    Rich,

    With ya, and agree. I also think between Madigan and Jesse, it won’t get that far.

    And, do it right, release statements that actually have what the guy allegedly did … and have it correct, and making it public seems to violate the rules cited, and by doing it as prescribed would stop him from voting, lees the press.

    My beef is not the grandstanding, if that can happen, its the lack of conveying facts correctly, and literally breaking then “next” rule to enforce the rule cited.

    Thanks again, Rich. This is why the place rocks.


  30. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:00 pm:

    @Rich -

    1) I HIGHLY doubt you’ll see Smith in Springfield, so preventing him from voting is a moot point.

    2) I don’t object to Republicans filing a petition — as I said, I think they are doing Democrats a favor — but I DO object to them doing it in violation of the very House Rule they cite.

    Politics do not belong in an investigation to strip a democratically-elected legislator from office, no matter how egregious the charges.

    PS> You can bet this will be the lead story on Fox News Chicago tonight. Its already on their website.


  31. - It's Just Me - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:11 pm:

    Actually, YDD, I think you are quoting HR #91, not #92, and you are also overlooking the following phrase, “Unless a resolution initiating disciplinary proceedings is introduced under this Rule…”


  32. - OneMan - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:16 pm:

    == Smith has an excused absence from the House. ==

    I can’t make it into session today with the felony and all….


  33. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:17 pm:

    @It’s Just Me -

    Sorry, yes, it is Rule 91.

    I didn’t “overlook” the phrase. A resolution to initiate proceedings may only be introduced if the Member in question objects to a confidential investigation:

    “If the member named in the petition objects to the appointment of a special investigating committee, any member who signed a petition for an investigation under this Rule may introduce a resolution to initiate disciplinary proceedings. Unless a resolution initiating disciplinary proceedings is introduced under this Rule, the contents of a petition for a special investigating committee shall be confidential except as to the member named, the members signing it, the Speaker, and the members of a special investigating committee.”


  34. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:48 pm:

    I suppose a replacement for Smith has already been chosen?


  35. - It's Just Me - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:58 pm:

    Okay, YDD, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree about whether Cross and company did anything wrong.

    If you want to be on the side of the guy that got caught taking a bribe that is your right. As for me, I’m gonna stand with the guy that wants to see your guy impeached.

    Hehe


  36. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:38 pm:

    I am stunned and appalled at the Democratic sycophants here attacking Cross on this one. For a reality check, here is Greg Hinz’s take and he is self-identified as left-leaning:

    Don’t expect Mr. Smith to be in office much longer. But now that he’s won renomination, he can “resign” to focus on his legal defense. Which means ward bosses will get to select the new nominee. Viva la Machine! Still, voters had their say — and they whiffed.

    Read more: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120321/BLOGS02/120329951/moderate-views-money-and-organization-key-to-primary-outcomes#ixzz1pmWeYvi5
    Stay on top of Chicago business with our free daily e-newsletters


  37. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:49 pm:

    - Anonymous -

    Read exactly what we wrote and why we wrote it. Also I am a Repub ..

    Thanks


  38. - Easy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:55 pm:

    I think what ydd and ow are saying is that if and more to the point when madigan agrees with cross and calls for the committee, then it will be the correct and just response. But since cross called for the committee it must be inherently wrong.


  39. - Boone Logan Square - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:58 pm:

    Jesse White has called on Smith to resign. Don’t see how he lasts the week…maybe not the afternoon.


  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:59 pm:

    –I’m clearly in the minority, but I think it’s going to be difficult to get Smith to resign. What is he going to do for an income if he quits?–

    He’s going to need to lawyer up pretty good, and his GA salary might not be enough. Get out of the way, and maybe some silk-stocking firm might want to help you out on the cheap or pro bono, a la George Ryan.

    I’m reminded of Larry Bullock, Fast Eddie’s Great Black Stalking Horse Hope to beat Harold.

    Things turned bad for Larry, and he was indicted. Stayed away from Springfield all session.

    After Harold got control of the City Council, courtesy of Luis, Fast Eddie, Lee and Pate cooked up a plan to trade O’Hare and Midway to keep Ed Kelly running the Park District.

    They shipped Bullock down to Springfield. Ronan and Daniels won procedural vote after procedural vote.

    Madigan was in the chair. Finally, in the early morning hours, to the bill, Larry pretended to be asleep. One vote short. Ronan ran down the aisle screaming at him, but Madigan banged the gavel, looked straight at Ronan, shook his head and said “no.”

    The next day, Ronan told me he thought he had Bullock for an all-day job, but Madigan had helped him lawyer up better.


  41. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:08 pm:

    ===But since cross called for the committee it must be inherently wrong.===

    I guess asking everyone to follow the House rules is not good enough … there is no indication that Smith rebuffed the investigation, so … is Cross breaking House rules?

    - Easy -

    Sometimes, doing something the right way makes it seem less partisan and have more ‘juice’ …and I know this isn’t a political thing …


  42. - easy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 5:25 pm:

    ow-it was the same exact process MJM used with Blago. I don’t remember anyone bellyaching about rules then.


  43. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 5:30 pm:

    –ow-it was the same exact process MJM used with Blago. I don’t remember anyone bellyaching about rules then. –

    LOL, except Blago and the Adams boys.


  44. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 5:36 pm:

    ===–ow-it was the same exact process MJM used with Blago. I don’t remember anyone bellyaching about rules then. –

    LOL, except Blago and the Adams boys.===

    Exactly … thanks -wordslinger-


  45. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 6:06 pm:

    *** UPDATE 2 *** Smith has an excused absence from the House.

    I just noticed he’s being listed on rollcalls as ‘A’ for absent, not ‘E’ for excused absence.


  46. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 6:34 pm:

    ==I just noticed he’s being listed on rollcalls as ‘A’ for absent, not ‘E’ for excused absence.==

    Yikes. He better be careful, or he might get in trouble.


  47. - It's Just Me - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 9:25 pm:

    Actually, Cross played this pretty well. He had to know the Dems would do this today as opposed to last week, but now it looks like they did it because Cross told them too. Well played.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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