ST. LOUIS — Rep. Russ Carnahan says guilty pleas by two state lawmakers who coordinated a political attack against him make it a sad day for the political system.
But the Democratic congressman says the system did prevail when the complaint his campaign filed with federal election officials ultimately shone a light on criminal wrongdoing.
Carnahan's comments Wednesday come a day after state Sen. Jeff Smith and state Rep. Steve Brown pleaded guilty to obstruction-related charges and resigned from office. They acknowledged involvement with negative campaign materials distributed against Carnahan in 2004. Smith was running against Carnahan, and Brown assisted Smith's campaign.
Carnahan won the election and still holds the congressional seat. He says he doesn't take the incident personally.
Several St. Louis Democrats already are positioning to replace Smith and Brown in the Legislature.