Mr. Smith Emerges from Jail in Kentucky

I remember Jeff Smith as a surprisingly short but ambitious young man who stayed at my house in 2007 with his then-girlfriend, who was working with me on the Bruce Lunsford for Governor campaign.  (We lost in the May primary to Steve Beshear).

Jeff Smith's post-prison interview on MSNBC

I remember being fascinated by the  2006 documentary about his run for Congress. I really liked him, thought he was pretty cool. And hadn’t thought about him for four years.

It turns out he spent eight months at a Kentucky prison near Manchester, convicted of lying to the FBI.   A guy who he thought was his best friend wore a wire for the FBI, and he admitted he lied about his knowledge of a postcard that was sent during his Congressional campaign. It was critical of his opponent. He got out last fall, and on April 4 wrote a helluva piece that appeared on Jonathan Miller’s new site, the Recovering Politician.

In it, Smith explains his journey to jail in Kentucky, and how he’s weighing offers and opportunities as he decides what he’s going to do next.  His story was the topic of a piece in The New Republic, and he was interviewed on MSNBC, where Dylan Ratigan had him try to explain how other political crooks (Rod Blagojevich, Charlie Rangel) haven’t gone to jail while he spent time in a Kentucky prison.

Smith got the opportunity to talk about the ethics of modern campaigns and how he was the victim of a smoking gun provided by his ex-friend. He showed plenty of energy and knowledge of politics.

Based on his Twitter posts, Jeff is very interested in politics. He’s not sure what he will do next, but I doubt we’ve heard the last from him.