08/17/2012 10:37 am ET Updated Aug 17, 2012

Derrick Smith Expulsion: Indicted Illinois State Lawmaker Gets The Boot In Historic Vote

Updated story

The Illinois House of Representatives on Friday took the historic move to expel one of its members for the first time in over a century.

The house voted 100-6 to oust State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago), a vote for which the indicted lawmaker was not present, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"The silence [of Smith] in this case speaks volumes," Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie) said of the vote Friday, NBC Chicago reports.

Smith was arrested in March after he allegedly accepted a $7,000 cash bribe to write an official letter of support for a fictional daycare center that he believed was seeking a state grant. According to the criminal complaint, the informant working with the FBI delivered an envelope filled with the cash to Smith, which he accepted.

Responding to his colleagues' move to expel him, Smith described Friday as both a "happy and sad day," the Tribune reports.

"I am happy because through this ordeal I have been able to learn who my friends are," Smith said.

Last month, a bipartisan House committee voted 11-1 to recommend that Smith be ousted from the statehouse.

At least 79 of the state's 118 House members were required to approve of the expulsion action, the Associated Press reports.

Even as the state House moved to expel Smith, the indicted lawmaker could still be re-elected in November as he will remain on the fall ballot, according to ABC Chicago.

Smith has already been elected once post-indictment, so re-election in November is not inconceivable. In March, one week after he was charged with accepting the daycare center bribe, he won the support of about 76 percent of the vote in the state Democratic primary. Prior to that vote, a coalition of Chicago Democrats urged primary voters to re-elect Smith despite the controversy.

Should Smith be re-elected in November, the state House will not be able to take another expulsion vote.

Smith, who will stand trial next year, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if he is convicted of the bribery charge.

The last time the state House moved to expel a member was 1905, when Rep. Frank D. Comerford (D-Chicago) was kicked out because he “besmirched the good name and reputation of this General Assembly,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Meanwhile on Friday, the state House also took up the contentious issue of public pensions in a special session.



Corruption In Illinois