Monday, July 2, 2012
Little Precedent For Discipline Of State Rep.
For all the corruption that has been exposed in the Illinois Capitol since the state was established in 1818 — six governors indicted or sent to prison, the Cement Bribery Trial of the early 1970s, the famous Paul Powell shoe boxes full of cash and the state auditor who embezzled millions — there is little precedent for how the House should investigate allegations against one of its own.
Chicago Democrat Frank Comerford in 1905 became the only State Representative ever expelled from the General Assembly. He got the boot for “besmirching its good name and reputation." Specifically, the 30 year-old lawyer, only two months in to his first term, detailed the names of lawmakers rumored to be on the take, how much cash changed hands and where the conversations took place. “To say that the Illinois Legislature is a great public auction, where special privileges are sold to the highest corporation bidders, is to put the statement mildly,” Comerford told a gathering of Illinois College of Law students and faculty.
Some of the legislators he named were among those who voted to kick him out of the House days later. None was ever charged with anything. Comerford had the last laugh, though. He ran as an independent in a special election to fill the seat he'd just lost and won it back.
You can read Jayette's full report at: http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/8834/il-house-expulsion-in-1905-laid-groundwork-for-2012-smith-case/
In the pic: Frank Comerford in later years; he eventually became a judge.