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Grant Support May Be New Avenue For Corruption In Illinois

Charities seeking state grant funding in Illinois routinely turn to their state representatives for support.

But the indictment last week of a lawmaker for allegedly taking a bribe in exchange for a written endorsement leaves questions about whether it's another way for unscrupulous politicians to line their pockets.

Federal authorities accuse state Rep. Derrick Smith of accepting a $7,000 bribe after writing a recommendation letter for a state grant.

Officials say such a scheme doesn't offer much promise. Charities seeking state money usually don't have much to give.

The incident is prompting a call for more disclosure. Brian Gladstein of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform says legislative correspondence should be available in a searchable online database.

Smith's attorney says the Chicago Democrat is innocent.

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