Lawmakers are set to decide later this month whether to expel Derrick Smith from the Illinois House for allegedly taking a bribe. As IPR's Alex Keefe reports, a state representative hasnít been expelled since 1905:
His name was Frank D. Comerford, and like Smith, he was a Democrat, from Chicago. But historian Rich Lindberg says Comerfordís name shouldnít evoke greasy palms and smoke-filled rooms:
"Maybe a Don Quixote with his lance, charging windmills"
Smith faces federal accusations of taking a 7-thousand dollar bribe. But Comerford's situation was quite the opposite:
"He had observed acts of bribery and intimidation in a General Assembly in 1905 that was thoroughly corrupt"
So Comerford ratted on his colleagues to the press. Less than two weeks later, he was out.
"and because he was expelled from the House, uh, is not really a black mark against his reputation."
Derrick Smith's reputation still must survive a federal criminal case, but even if he is expelled, he could still be re-elected. That's what happened to Comerford, who went on to have a highly respected legal career.
(picture courtesy watchdog.org)
Support Your Public Radio Station