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.