The Illinois House begins a series of hearings today on whether State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) should be expelled from office. Smith was arrested this month on allegations he wanted a $7,000 cash bribe from a day care center to write a recommendation letter for a state grant. State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook), who will preside over the hearings, says lawmakers have to determine what evidence they’ll be allowed to use.
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“I think it will be similar to the Blagojevich proceeding in that we’ll be looking to the U.S. attorney to see what information we can get and where they would like us to tread lightly, or not tread at all,” she says. High ranking officials, including the governor, have called for Smith to resign, but waited until after the primary to do so. Smith easily won in the 10th district against a Republican who purported to have become a Democrat. Smith has neither appeared in nor been excused from Springfield since his arrest. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at the state Capitol.