House committee recommends expelling Rep. Smith

A state legislative committee voted 11-1 Thursday to recommend that the full Illinois House expel Rep. Derrick Smith over federal bribery charges.

“It’s with a heavy heart we take this action today,” said Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago, who chaired the disciplinary panel. “It’s a sad day for the Illinois House of Representatives.”

Republican Rep. Jim Durkin and Democratic Rep. Lou Lang, made the recommendation to the House Select Committee on Discipline. The 12-member committee met behind closed doors Thursday afternoon to decide whether Smith should be punished and to what extent.

Prosecutors say the West Side democrat was caught taking a $7,000 bribe from an FBI mole acting on behalf of a purported Chicago daycare operator seeking his help in securing a $50,000 state grant.

Smith is still waiting to be tried on criminal charges, but none of the evidence is being presented at the hearing.

Smith's lawyer says the committee can't make a fair decision without seeing the evidence.