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Excerpts from letter from former Sen. Jeff Smith

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 | 9:16 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — Excerpts from a letter from Jeff Smith to constituents Tuesday announcing his resignation from the Missouri Senate following his guilty pleas to federal charges:

Today, with great sadness and regret, I am resigning from the Missouri Senate.

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.

The FEC cleared our campaign of wrongdoing. But in 2009, the government received new information and reopened its investigation. When questioned, I stood by our 2004 account and encouraged my close friend to do so, misleading the authorities. Today I am taking full responsibility for my mistakes. ...

This event has humbled me. I have done some significant introspection and that has been the hardest part: coming to terms with my own poor judgments and mistakes.

I apologize to my constituents, my staff, my Senate colleagues, my supporters, and to Congressman Carnahan. I am sorry to be leaving an institution I dearly love and the chance to represent a city with so much potential.

But I'm proud of my work in the Senate. ... I worked to create the Missouri Teaching Fellows Program ..., expanded early childhood education for impoverished City children, and helped add $5M in bonuses to the salaries of City teachers whose students make exceptional academic progress.

... I led the drive to pass a Green Sales Tax Holiday for energy-efficient appliances, a tax deduction for home energy audits, and a mandate that Missouri increase its energy efficiency standard for state buildings.

... I sponsored and passed two bills that will transform our child-support system. ...

Finally, I helped successfully defend Missouri's Historic Preservation Tax Credit, which has done more than any other program to revitalize formerly dilapidated urban neighborhoods. ...

... Please don't let my mistakes sour you on active civic involvement. There are no perfect people and no perfect candidates, but I hope you'll find a candidate or a cause in which you believe and fight for it with the same zeal you fought for me. ...

... I won't run for office again, but I'll stay active in the causes that animate me ... and help the City I love continue its return to the glory of its past.

... I deeply regret the mistakes that have forced my resignation, but I hope you will balance them against the totality of my service, and that we can work together again in the future.

 


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