State Sen. Sam McCann has filed a federal lawsuit against Republican Senate leadership and the state Republican Party for cutting off his access to support services granted to Republican senators.
In the lawsuit, McCann said he was expelled from the Senate Republican caucus on April 19 after announcing plans to run for governor as a candidate from the yet-to-be-formed Conservative Party. McCann said he was not provided with a hearing prior to his expulsion.
After his expulsion, McCann said, he was denied access to “material, taxpayer funded legislation operational resources required by him to fulfill his duties to his constituents.” Those resources include staff assistance with drafting and passing legislation, access to communications and access to a Facebook page and official officeholder website.
As a result, he said, he “has not been able to represent effectively or adequately the residents of the 50th Senate District who elected him on three separate occasions.”
Together, the actions violated his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association and his 14th Amendment rights to due process and equal protection, the lawsuit says.
McCann, of Plainview, said he remains a Republican until he can successfully launch the Conservative Party. He needs to submit petitions containing 25,000 valid signatures by the end of June to get on the ballot as the Conservative Party candidate for governor. The validity of any signatures he collects will be challenged by Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Republican Party.
McCann said that when he announced he planned to run for governor as a third-party candidate, he told Brady he was resigning a committee leadership post. However, he insists he never resigned as a member of the Senate Republican caucus. Brady has insisted McCann did indeed resign from the caucus.
“This is a classic case of taxation without representation and tyranny,” McCann said in an interview. “The tyrannical Rauner has instructed his cronies who are in charge of the Republican caucus to do this. All we want is to receive the services that every elected senator receives.”
Each of the four legislative caucuses has a budget to cover operations expenses. The Senate Democrats and Republicans each receive $5.3 million for those expenses.
Each senator, including McCann, receives $73,000 for district office expenses. McCann is still receiving his district office expense money, but in the lawsuit, he says he “has genuine concerns regarding what little taxpayer funds remain accessible to him.”
Gerwig said, “It’s district office money. We cannot turn it off.”
McCann says he plans to serve out his current term in the Senate which ends in January.
“If they (Republican leadership) want to cut me off from services, then they need to figure out how to divvy up the taxpayer funds so I can adequately represent my district,” McCann said. “If you think the people of Illinois should send their taxpayer dollars here to reward Republicans and Democrats for being good partisans and it shouldn’t flow back to taxpayer services, I don’t think that’s what people think they send their money here for.”