State Government

Rep. Smith pays lawyers with campaign funds

SPRINGFIELD (AP) – A published report says indicted state Rep. Derrick Smith dipped into campaign funds to pay more than $37,000 to his defense team.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the Chicago Democrat made that expenditure in March, days after his arrest allegedly taking a $7,000 bribe from an undercover FBI informant.

Smith disclosed the legal fees payment in a January filing with the election board. State law doesn't prohibit officials from using campaign dollars to pay for a legal defense, but does ban the use of those funds to purchase vehicles and homes.

Prosecutors charged Smith with accepting the bribe in return for recommending a state grant to help a daycare center.

He's denied wrongdoing but was expelled from office. Voters put him back in office.

The trial is set for October.

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