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items tagged with Derrick Smith

Smith’s Initial Defense Suggests a Blagojevich-Like Circus
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2012-05-06 12:03:59

Derrick SmithCall it “Blagojevich Lite,” or whatever else you want, but it became pretty darned clear last week that the attorneys for state Representative Derrick Smith are planning the same sort of mockery of the system that Rod Blagojevich’s legal team did during those dark days after the former governor’s arrest.


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Smith Punishment Needs to Move Forward Quickly
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2012-04-29 12:01:47

State Representative Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) may have more legal troubles than his federal bribery indictment.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has told the House’s Special Investigating Committee that his office’s investigation of Smith isn’t over yet, which could be an indication that the government wants to pile on more charges.

But the “active” federal investigation also means that Fitzgerald decided to refuse to cooperate with the committee, which is charged with looking into the allegations to determine if any legislative action is warranted. Fitzgerald also asked the committee to not do any investigations beyond what is already in the public record, except for interviewing Smith himself.


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Secretary of State Admits Error with House Appointment
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2012-04-01 12:56:06

I’ve been pretty rough on Secretary of State Jesse White lately. I have no regrets about it, and I believe I had good reason to put the onus on him to correct his mistake of appointing state Representative Derrick Smith to the Illinois House last year. Smith, of course, was arrested in March on federal bribery charges.

White requested a sit-down last week, and I was more than happy to meet with him. I’ve always respected the guy, but I told him in no uncertain terms that I stood by everything I wrote and will continue to hold him responsible for resolving this mess.

White initially blamed his alderman and protégé Walter Burnett for Smith’s appointment. Burnett, White said, didn’t fully inform him about Smith’s background problems. (Smith was fired from his city job, and the Sun-Times reported a few years ago that he’d been accused of malfeasance.) That’s no excuse, however. White is the top dog, and the blame rests with him. He agreed.


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Secretary of State Could Pay for His Rare Misstep
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2012-03-25 12:04:26

It’s hard to avoid contemplating how Secretary of State Jesse White has screwed up lately on so many fronts.

White has managed to mostly avoid scandals throughout his life and as a result has become one of the most popular Democratic politicians of the past half-century – one year winning all 102 Illinois counties, and then still taking about 70 percent of the vote during the the national Republican landslide of 2010. (Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan won with 65 percent, and Governor Pat Quinn won with less than 47 percent that same year.)

But White’s engineering of the appointment of Derrick Smith to his old House seat was no doubt the biggest mistake the secretary has ever made in his decades-long political career.


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A Bribery Arrest with a Big Backstory
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2012-03-18 22:30:48

Appointed state Representative Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) hasn’t been in the House very long, but few would’ve ever picked him as a future legislative star. He stumbles badly during debates, isn’t well informed on the issues, and has obviously had a lot of trouble getting his arms around his new job.

In other words, he probably won’t be missed.

Smith was arrested last week on federal bribery charges. The feds say a campaign worker told them that Smith was anxious about fundraising problems and was willing to trade favors for checks. After being told a day-care-center owner was willing to pony up big bucks in exchange for an official letter requesting a $50,000 state grant, Smith allegedly pounced on the opportunity.


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