Jack Smith, the New Special Counsel, Is Schooled in Corruption Cases
By Wendy Anderson
The indictment of former Rep. Randy Cunningham (R-Calif.) includes 25 potential violations of federal bribery statutes. Photo from the U.S. Courty of Alexandria-N.Y. office.
The counsel to the House Select Committee on Ethics is a former federal prosecutor
As a special counsel, Joseph Smith has more than just the authority to decide who is indicted. He is also the author of the indictments he can file on his own behalf, and there is no shortage of cases. “He was the sheriff when the case before the Arizona U.S. Court of Appeals involved the federal government’s involvement in the investigation of a former sheriff,” says Rick Helstein, who served as general counsel to the House Ethics Committee from 2003 to 2006, and is now a partner at Helstein, Fazio & Partners in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia took over a probe of a former U.S. congressman, while Smith’s office investigated two state legislators. Smith prosecuted the former U.S. attorney in the federal case of a U.S. senator, and also indicted former Arkansas U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) over an indiscretion with a local judge. Now he will be making the rare move to bring perjury charges against the sitting governor. “He has had an enormous amount of experience,” says Helstein.
Smith joined the U.S. Department of Justice in 1983, after tenure as an assistant U.S. attorney in New York. He was a special counsel for the FBI from 1983 to 1986 and worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle