In March of this year, state Rep. Derrick Smith was charged with accepting a bribe of $7,000 in exchange for supporting a grant for a fictional day care operator in an undercover FBI sting.
The legislature expelled Smith from the legislature in August, but after Tuesday night’s elections it appears that Smith will return to the Legislature in January.
Smith won the 10th Illinois House District last night. With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Smith was winning his race by a huge margin of 62.6 percent to 37.4 percent over Lance Tyson.
The federal corruption charges still stand and a federal corruption trial isn’t expected to occur before Smith would be sworn in in January.
There is speculation that Illinois lawmakers will attempt to re-expel Smith, but the Chicago Tribune noted, “Neither Smith’s indictment nor his expulsion prevents him from being sworn in to office. Much like the legal protection of double jeopardy, the Illinois Constitution does not allow lawmakers to remove Smith again from office for the same charges.”
The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute recently surveyed Illinois voters and found that 58 percent of Illinois voters think Illinois is more corrupt than other state. The convictions and prison sentences of our past two governors and many other public officials no doubt contributed to that high number.
Voters in the 10th District put those feelings aside and decided to support Smith despite the cloud of corruption that hangs over his head.