Springfield, Ill. -- Illinois House members voted Friday afternoon 100 to 6 to expel Chicago Democrat Derrick Smith. Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) and Rep. Pam Roth (R-Morris) voted for Smith’s expulsion.
Heading to the hearing Friday morning, Spring Valley Democratic State Representative Frank Mautino expected that’s how he’d vote.
Mautino is on the House Ethics Commission. He says the FBI recordings of Smith allegedly taking a bribe are convincing. Mautino says Smith’s lack of a defense is bad.
Mautino says it was sad heading to Springfield Friday morning knowing that for the first time in more than 100 years, the House could expel a member. The member expelled in 1905 won reelection. Smith is on the fall ballot and could win reelection too. If he does, the House won’t be able to remove him again for the same alleged wrongdoing.
Smith is accused of taking a $7,000 bribe to secure a grant for a day care. He has pled not guilty in the federal case against him. The lawmakers who voted against expelling him said he should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Others said Smith had the opportunity to simply tell legislators in earlier hearings that he didn’t do it but didn’t even show up.
The federal case against Smith is completely independent of the House vote today and the results of the November 6 election. Federal prosecutors could have still prosecuted Smith even if the Illinois House hadn’t voted to expel him. And they can still prosecute Smith even if voters put him back in office.