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Mr. Smith Goes to Leavenworth

August 26, 2009 Crime, Politics/Policy 11 Comments

Five years ago Jeff Smith came in second place out of 10 candidates in the Democratic primary for U.S. Congress.  He was a rising star.  So much so a documentary was made about that campaign for Congress.  The film, Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington, Anymore?, was released in 2006:


In 2006 Smith was elected to the Missouri State Senate in another crowded election.

But it turns out he had knowledge of  a campaign violation from the 2004 Congressional campaign .  He lied twice about his knowledge of the violation.  From his statement issued yesterday as he resigned his seat:

During my 2004 Congressional race, I became aware of an independent effort to produce two mailers to benefit my campaign. Federal campaign finance law prohibits specific coordination between a campaign and anyone preparing an independent expenditure.

When the independent operator requested funding, I authorized a close friend to raise money for the effort, and my press secretary provided public information about my opponent’s voting record. I withheld my knowledge of these facts during the Federal Election Commission’s 2004 investigation, misleading investigators and filing a false affidavit.  (Source)

The lie is often worse than the deed.  Just ask Martha Stewart.

Jeff Smith represented the 4th District in the Missouri Senate (green below):

I live in the 5th District, represented by Robin Wright-Jones who was elected in 2008, replacing Maida Coleman who had been term limited out of office.  So Jeff Smith was not my Senator.  Still, knowing him, I’m disappointed.

Will he go to Leavenworth?  Probably not, but it made for a good headline.  Smith will likely spend some time in a white collar prison.  We will know after he and others are sentenced on November 10, 2009.

The FBI press release has all the facts in a no-nonsense way you’d expect from the FBI.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "11 comments" on this Article:

  1. john w. says:

    Disappointing and unfortunate. I like Jeff, and hope he will bounce back and continue to work for the city in a way he knows he can.

  2. anon says:

    Once convicted of a felony, don’t you lose your right to vote? If true, then how did Marion Barry get returned to office in DC after serving time for a drug related crime?

  3. Webby says:

    According to http://felonvoting.procon.org/viewresource.asp?resourceID=286 :

    In Missouri, people with felony convictions are barred from voting if incarcerated, on parole or on probation.

    People with felony convictions may vote upon completion of all supervised release.

  4. anon says:

    What the difference between being “on parole” and having completed your sentence?

  5. W Kruse says:

    The right to vote is different from the right to run for office. Also, the law governing the right to vote are state by state. Some states have recinded the prohibitions on voting by convicted felons. Some states restore the right automatically upon completion of the sentence, and some require the felon to apply for a restoration of his rights.

  6. Webby says:



    According to Wikipedia, parole is still a part of your sentence. Complete it without re-arrest, and you’ve completed your sentence:

    In criminal justice systems, parole is the supervised release of a prisoner before the completion of his/her sentence. This differs from amnesty or commutation of sentence in that parolees are still considered to be serving their sentences, and may be returned to prison if they violate the conditions of their parole. Conditions of parole often include things such as obeying the law, refraining from drug and alcohol use, avoiding contact with the parolee’s victims, obtaining employment, and maintaining required contacts with a parole officer.

  7. JC-35 says:

    Among the FBI press-release “facts” is a big, obvious mistake in the headline: it’s Steve Brown, not Mark Brown.

  8. Cady says:

    JC-35 – just FYI, Steve Brown’s first name is Mark (Mark Steven Brown). I’m sure the FBI had to use his first name officially.

  9. CarondeletNinja says:

    The only difference between Mr. Smith and the rest of Washington is that he got caught.

  10. theotherguy says:

    From a West Wing flashback when the Toby Ziegler character is counseling candidate Jeb Bartlett for a public Q and A–

    Just tell the truth, it is the easiest to remember.

    That is what is so disappointing. Tell the truth, probably get off with a slap on the wrist, now. . .

  11. samizdat says:

    Jeff, you dumbass.


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