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*** UPDATED x3 *** House Investigating Committee live coverage

Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* As I mentioned earlier, the bipartisan House Investigating Committee meets at 11 this morning for the first time. The committee, chaired by Rep. Elaine Nekritz, will determine whether there is enough evidence against Rep. Derrick Smith to warrant referring the issue to a committee that will decide what the punishment should be. The full House will then have to vote on that punishment. Expulsion requires a two-thirds vote.

* Live video from the committee will be available here, but I’ll also embed the video feed in this post as soon as the hearing begins.

*** UPDATE 3 *** From our friends at BlueRoomStream.com, here’s the video of the proceedings

*** UPDATE 2 *** And here’s our ScribbleLive feed. BlackBerry users click here

* From the AP

The leader of an Illinois House committee investigating alleged misconduct by a lawmaker wants to find out how much federal prosecutors can reveal about their bribery case against Rep. Derrick Smith. […]

A spokesman for Fitzgerald declined comment Monday on the proposal. Although she doesn’t anticipate the committee gathering much of its own evidence, Nekritz said the committee should try to collect information beyond the criminal complaint.

“We need to ask the question of the U.S. attorney what they’re willing to provide us because if we didn’t we would simply be acting on allegations of which no one has testified or proved,” Nekritz said Monday. […]

If the committee sends a letter to prosecutors, the committee would be inactive until it gets a response. If there’s no assistance the U.S. attorney can provide, “then it will be a fairly short proceeding,” Nekritz said.

“We will just have to engage in a discussion among the committee as to whether or not we think that the criminal complaint is sufficient to send it to the next level,” she said.

The House asked much the same thing of the US Attorney after Rod Blagojevich’s arrest.

* Meanwhile, Gov. Pat Quinn reiterated his call for Rep. Smith to resign

With expulsion hearings set to begin Tuesday, state Rep. Derrick Smith should resign his House seat rather than holding onto it as his federal bribery case unfolds, Gov. Pat Quinn reiterated Monday.

“I really feel that Rep. Smith would do himself a favor by taking the advice of Secretary of State Jesse White and many, many others and resigning,” Quinn told reporters.

* But check out how the governor bobbed and weaved several times when reporters asked him about why he didn’t call for Smith’s resignation before the primary. It’s vintage Quinn and the reporters never do get a decent answer...

Heh.

       

30 Comments
  1. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    Is it a breach of decorum for Gov. Quinn to tell the truth?

    “Based on what I knew of the other candidate, he was an erratic Republican who filed as a Democrat. He was someone who–based on what I heard–didn’t work well with others, which is important in a legislative setting.

    “What the voters said by making Derrick Smith the nominee is that the voters didn’t want the other guy. What was his name? The voters wanted a Democrat representing them in Springfield, not somebody who was erratic or a Republican.

    “The voters are counting on Rep. Smith being replaced on the ballot by the Democratic committeemen.

    “Based on my understanding of proceedings, Rep. Smith will not be in the General Assembly too much longer.

    “Unfortunately, the Democratic Party had to go through this process of replacing the nominee for an office not too long ago.

    “I think the fact that the Democratic Party, the committeemen, were able to identify and select an outstanding candidate in Sheila Simon gave confidence to the voters of the West Side communities that they could block the erratic Republican from obtaining the Democratic line on the ballot and the committeemen would find a quality candidate.

    “I have called the committeemen in question and asked them to do a diligent job searching for diverse candidates–not just buddies and insiders–and to select someone who will do a competent job legislating, provide constituent services and make members of the community proud.”


  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 10:59 am:

    I admit when I am wrong … I am wrong. I gave it a better than 50/50 he would resign before it go this far, and Smith didn’t. I bet his attorneys told him not to, and a resignation would be something like admitting guilt NOW.

    Heck, Rosty, Blago, they never resigned, so the odds are Smith wasn’t going to as well. My bad.

    Jesse and Madigan STILL got what they wanted with a Smith win.

    Smith gets removed, another good for MJM and Jesse and hopefully, for every single person , (voters, the caucus, the Hous chamber, Jesse and the Speaker) a very CLEAN replacement can be found.


  3. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:04 am:

    Does being expelled from the legislature require Smith to give up the position on the ballot? It is two separate questions.


  4. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:05 am:

    “Smith gets removed, another good for MJM and Jesse and hopefully, for every single person , (voters, the caucus, the Hous chamber, Jesse and the Speaker) a very CLEAN replacement can be found.”
    Why in the world would you assume it will be a “very clean replacement” instead of another hack?


  5. - Coach - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:09 am:

    Is it too much to ask of the committee to allow a single video camera to be positioned in front of the witness table and facing the witnesses? Good grief, this video (distant shot of the back of each witness’s head) is awful.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:15 am:

    ===Why in the world would you assume it will be a “very clean replacement” instead of another hack?===

    A very Clean replacement = non-embarrassment.

    Further …

    ===Why in the world would you assume it will be a “very clean replacement” instead of another hack?===

    Did I…SAY … it wouldn’t be a hack, did I …SAY … it had to be a “Pollyana” … remember, don’t assume what someone is thinking .. it makes an …. well, nevermind.

    Make you feel better?


  7. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:24 am:

    @Carl - the answer is NO.

    @Oswego - As Rich pointed out, resignation is part of the plea bargain process from the feds. Smith’s attorneys haven’t even completed discovery yet. They are not going to forfeit leverage.

    @Rich - I’ve got to doublecheck the House Rules, but unless I’m mistaken we’ve got a double jeopardy rule that says that if the House expels him now, they cant remove him again for the same offense should he win re-election.


  8. - Shore - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:26 am:

    The Governor comes back from serving pizza to 32 year old low level norwegian and slovenian diplomats to boost a summit no one can explain how it will benefit Illinoisans, he can’t give a straight answer on getting rid of a guy who never should have had a job in the first place, and the senate democrats are fudging around on a program that should have been killed a long time ago.

    Such a waste.


  9. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:27 am:

    Adjourned to April 9. Is Smith even in town? If I were him, I’d show up to collect my per diem every single day. They’re going to have to expel him or wait until the prosecution is finished.

    And as for getting Fitzgerald’s input, has a trial judge been assigned yet? Because as powerful as Fitzgerald is, he isn’t a federal judge, and whoever the trial judge is will have the ultimate say about what the committee can and cannot do.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:27 am:

    - YDD -

    Understood … just clarifying my mistaken judgement. Thanks, and thanks again to Rich, on many levels, including the live feed here.


  11. - mark walker - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:27 am:

    I think we just heard Reboletti say that this was a first for the House, in that no other Representative had ever been formally charged with bribery and faced diciplinary sanctions because of it. I find that hard to believe, but I’m no historian on these matters.


  12. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:34 am:

    ===whoever the trial judge is will have the ultimate say about what the committee can and cannot do.===

    Typing too fast. I meant to say the federal trial judge will have the ultimate say about federal cooperation with the House committee. The committee will do whatever it wants to, but the feds don’t have to cooperate, which could limit the scope of evidence to the written complaint and word of an unnamed accusor.

    But this is a political, not a legal process, so that shouldn’t matter much. Except again, as Reboletti points out, this is uncharted territory. Are we really going to expel a House member based on an accusation? That’s the heart of the matter from my perspective.


  13. - dave - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:34 am:

    Video links not working for me…


  14. - Hank - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:35 am:

    a very CLEAN replacement can be found…..
    I believe Roland is available (snark)


  15. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:39 am:

    ===a very CLEAN replacement can be found…..
    I believe Roland is available (snark)===

    Dunno … is there room on the tombstone?


  16. - soccermom - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:43 am:

    @YDD — all good points, thanks.


  17. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 11:58 am:

    This is moving rather quickly, which is interesting.

    From memory, state Reps. Larry Bullock and James DeLeo were not subject to any GA disciplinary proceedings after their federal indictments. Neither were Sens. Bruce Farley or John D’Arco.

    I’d be surprised if there weren’t other GA members who served while under indictment.

    What makes Smith so special?


  18. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 12:06 pm:

    ===What makes Smith so special?===

    Exactly. My guess is that he’s already lost his political support, unlike DeLeo, D’Arco, Farley et al. Their political patrons didn’t abandon them the way Smith’s have. No one is supporting Smith, in part because he hasn’t been around long enough to make friends.

    That, and we’re in the post-Blagojevich era. I’m not sure Bullock and the others could have survived their situations now as they did then. Too much spotlight.


  19. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 12:10 pm:

    ===Video links not working for me===

    The hearings are over.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 12:10 pm:

    ===What makes Smith so special?===

    New Map, Cross is desperate to be an alternative, Speaker wants this issue “gone” because of the climate, since they did it with Blago, heck we can do it whenever!

    Very slippery slope, indeed … was suprised any of the played wanted to go down this road, but I, too, once this got rolling, didn’t see the brakes applied, and that is a scary thng too.

    It was “easier” back “when” … It’s so Rabid right now, if you aren’t a partisan, or not “cleaner”, or not an extreme to your party, you are dangerous …

    Let’s just go to Sam’s and talk this out?


  21. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 12:14 pm:

    47, I’m pretty sure DeLeo and D’Arco never lost their political sponsors, lol.

    I don’t recall who Farley’s clout was (Rosty?), but he got taken down by Lisa Madigan in the next primary. He kept serving after then until conviction.

    I don’t know who Bullock’s original clout was, but, until indictment, he was thought to be Fast Eddie’s Great Black Hope to run against Harold and split the black vote in the next mayoral primary.


  22. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 12:20 pm:

    DeLeo pled to a misdemeanor and I’m pretty sure it was before he was in the House.

    Farley pled guilty, but his co-defendant was actually acquitted. The case was very weak and very little like this Smith thing.

    Kicking D’Arco out would’ve probably cost several lives. lol Just sayin…

    The other thing is that times are different. Plus, you can’t go back and change history. This is the proper path to follow.


  23. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 12:21 pm:

    ===I’m pretty sure DeLeo and D’Arco never lost their political sponsors===

    Which is pretty much what I said Word, lol.


  24. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 12:30 pm:

    –DeLeo pled to a misdemeanor and I’m pretty sure it was before he was in the House.–

    Yes, he was a rep. at indictment, but the original felony charges were Operation Greylord from when he worked as baliff for Judge Olson. Went to trial, got a hung jury and then copped to a misdemeanor. Sweet.


  25. - Gregor - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 1:06 pm:

    What I would want to know from the FBI/ US ATTY for the committee is:

    Was the bribe money marked or serial numbers recorded? Did Smith have the marked or recorded money in hand when arrested? Can we get a complete transcript of the wire recording? Can we see a sworn statement from the undercover?

    That’s enough for an impeachment or removal, as far as I’m concerned.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 1:07 pm:

    ===Kicking D’Arco out would’ve probably cost several lives. lol Just sayin…===

    Take the Cannoli


  27. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 1:35 pm:

    @Gregor -

    I think Smith should resign, but there is a whole lot more to this criminal case:

    1) the original conversation where Smith allegedly said he wants to engage in pay to play is not record. Okay, chalk that up to a spontaneous utterance.

    2) Then, when CS1 is sent in to offer smith a bribe, the fbi does not record the meeting.

    3) the meeting where the cash exchange took place was not recorded by the fbi.

    4) Several key phone conversations between cs1 and smith were not recorded.

    5) we DO know from the indictment that getting the campaign contribution in cash was CS-1’s idea.

    Read the entire indictment. Its quite different than the picture portrayed in the press. I’m not saying Smith is innocent — but he may be guilty of nothing more than attempting to evade campaign finance laws. This is not an open and shut case.


  28. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Mar 27, 12 @ 5:33 pm:

    @Wordslinger: Former State Representative Bruce Farley’s clout was from the 47th Ward Democrats (Ed Kelly).


  29. - Quinn T. Sential - Wednesday, Mar 28, 12 @ 8:25 am:

    {The other thing is that times are different. Plus, you can’t go back and change history. This is the proper path to follow.}

    This seems like selective ethics.

    Why wouldn’t the House Investigative Committee be investigating House members that awarded scholarships university tuition waivers (not to be confused with scholarships) to students that lived outside their own districts?

    Isn’t that a violation of the public trust? Wouldn’t that be the right path to follow?


  30. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Mar 28, 12 @ 8:43 am:

    ===This seems like selective ethics.

    Why wouldn’t the House Investigative Committee be investigating House members that awarded scholarships university tuition waivers===

    Well, maybe it should, but that requires somebody in the House to file a complaint under current rules. Either way, though, you cannot compare media stories to an actual federal bribery arrest.


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