Frankenstein’s monster is refusing to come out of the mill.
State Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, who was indicted for allegedly accepting a $7,000 bribe from an informant posing as a day-care center owner, has not resigned his seat in the General Assembly, despite pressure from Democrats who want to appoint a new candidate for the November election.
According to Secretary of State Jesse White, who appointed Smith to the seat and supported him in the primary, Smith needs his legislative paycheck.
“He’s concerned about having employment,” White told WBBM. “I think he’d step down tomorrow, or today, if he had a job. But the other question is, who would hire him?”
That should have been the question before White and other ward committeemen appointed Smith to replace Annazette Collins in the House last year. Even then, Smith was an unemployable guy who had been fired from his job as 27th Ward superintendent for ordering city workers to landscape private houses. Now, the very reason he needed the job is the reason White can’t get rid of him.
This problem is bigger than Smith’s legislative district. Jesse White will be running for his fourth term as Secretary of State in two years. Republicans plan to use Smith as a campaign issue against him. The longer he sticks around, the more he embarrasses White.
The General Assembly may solve White’s problem by expelling Smith from the House. But let's hope Smith sticks around as long as he can. The longer he’s in office, the more he’ll remind us of the flaws in the undemocratic system that allows ward committeemen to fill legislative vacancies. His case may even lead to a call for special elections.
Sorry, Democrats, but you wanted Smith. Now live with him. There is only one sure-fire to get the man to step down.
Offer him a bribe.