State Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, convicted of taking $7,000 bribe

Brian Costin

Open government and government transparency expert

Brian Costin
June 10, 2014

State Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, convicted of taking $7,000 bribe

A federal jury has found state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, guilty of taking a $7,000 cash bribe in exchange for writing a state grant recommendation letter in 2012. Under state law, Smith automatically loses his office with the felony bribery conviction. This is the second time Smith has lost his office. Smith was originally expelled from...

A federal jury has found state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, guilty of taking a $7,000 cash bribe in exchange for writing a state grant recommendation letter in 2012.

Under state law, Smith automatically loses his office with the felony bribery conviction.

This is the second time Smith has lost his office. Smith was originally expelled from the Illinois General Assembly shortly after the bribery scandal broke, but was readmitted to the in early 2013 after winning re-election to his House seat by a 62.6 percent to 37.4 percent margin over Lance Tyson.

Smith lost the 2014 Democratic Party primary to Pamela Reaves-Harris despite support from House Speaker Mike Madigan, and was scheduled to finish out his term in January 2015.

Madigan’s Illinois House Democrat caucus has had a spate of legal troubles in recent years. Two other legislators have outstanding legal cases. State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, has been indicted for bank fraud, and former state Rep. Keith Farnham, D-Elgin, is awaiting trial on child pornography charges.

Smith’s conviction is a signal that Illinois’ long trend of public corruption convictions and lack of trust in government is alive and well. Illinois ranks as the third-most corrupt state in the nation, and a recent Gallup Poll showed Illinois residents have the least amount of trust in state government in the nation at an abysmal 28 percent.

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