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Lawmakers Taking Steps That Could Oust Rep. Smith

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State Rep. Derrick Smith.

State Rep. Derrick Smith.

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – The Illinois legislature is moving forward with an investigation of State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago), a process that could potentially lead to his ouster from the General Assembly over his arrest on federal bribery charges.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) has been picked to chair a House Special Investigative Committee that will look into the charges against Smith. The panel is scheduled to meet Tuesday morning.

House Speaker Mike Madigan, who picked the three Democrats on the panel, was asked what he expects from the panel and from Smith.

“I think they’ll do what they’re charged to do, which is to take evidence, make a recommendation,” Madigan said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Asked whether Smith should resign, Madigan said “I’m not offering an opinion on that, because I’m leading the investigation.”

Madigan told WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl that he hasn’t spoken to Smith since the lawmaker’s arrest.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Smith’s political mentor, has called on Smith to step down, as has Gov. Pat Quinn and House Minority Leader Tom Cross.

“The allegations in the charge against him convey unacceptable conduct, making it extremely difficult to represent the citizens of the district. The public would be much better served if Derrick were to step down,” White said in a prepared statement on Wednesday.

White said he has not spoken with his protégé since his arrest, but has said the bribery charge makes it difficult for Smith to represent his constituents.

After looking into the charges against Smith, lawmakers could recommend disciplinary action, ranging from a formal reprimand to expelling Smith from the General Assembly – if he doesn’t resign first.

State Reps. William Davis (D-Homewood), Andre Thapedi (D-Chicago), Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst), JoAnn Osmond (R-Antioch) and Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) also have been appointed to the committee investigating Smith.

Smith has not spoken publicly since his arrest. He was not in Springfield for the past two session days on Wednesday and Thursday. He had an excused absence on Wednesday, but not on Thursday.

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