An Illinois House Committee recommended expulsion for indicted state Rep. Derrick Smith.
“What’s the rush?” said attorney Victor Henderson, as he defended his client Smith who is accused of taking a bribe.
The Select Committee on Discipline met Thursday to hear the evidence for and against Democratic Rep. Derrick Smith. Afterward, the committee voted 11 – 1 to recommend expelling the Chicago legislator from the State House.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we take this action today,” said state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, who was a member of the panel.
Smith was notably absent from the disciplinary hearing, but it did not stop accusations and questions being directed his way.
“He has a duty, a responsibility to stand before us and tell us what’s going on here,” said state Rep. Lou Lang during the hearing.
“Did you accept the cash?” asked state Rep. Jim Durkin. “Do you regret the decisions you have made over this period of time?”
Federal prosecutors say Smith took a $7,000 bribe in exchange for promising to steer a state grant to a daycare center. He denies the allegation.
It is expected that in the next six weeks the House will reconvene in Springfield to consider the Disciplinary Committee’s recommendation. There needs to be 79 or more votes to approve the recommendation.
It has been 107 years since a state legislator has been removed from office.
This decision will have no effect on the criminal charges against Smith.