Former State Senator and Recent Gubernatorial Candidate is Under Federal Investigation

By Benjamin Cox on April 12, 2019 at 12:14pm

Former State Senator William “Sam” McCann is under federal investigation, according to a Chicago Sun-Times Report overnight. A grand jury subpoenaed McCann’s emails and mileage reimbursements in January over his time spent in public office from 2011-2018.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois sought emails, tax documents, mileage-reimbursement records and any payments made to McCann while he served as an Illinois State Senator in Illinois’ 50th District.

Controversies over McCann’s finances are nothing new for the former State Senator. In an Illinois Times article dated from March 2016, Jacksonville resident Kirk Million filed a complaint with the Illinois State Board of Elections over McCann’s mileage records for his campaign against Bryce Benton in the March 2016 Republican primary. McCann faced a public hearing for the $85,000 in expenditures reported during that time. Million subsequently dropped the complaint a day before the hearing took place. The reimbursements would have come directly from taxpayers at that time.

The Morgan County Watchdog Group website reported in July 2016 that McCann was caught receiving money from a publicly-funded hospital in both 2014 and 2015. Jersey County Community Hospital donated $1600 to McCann’s campaign. Political campaign donations by a public entity is a violation of the Illinois Constitution’s campaign finance law.

McCann came under fire in September 2017 when he used campaign funds to purchase a brand new Ford Expedition SUV for $61,146 and a new engine for a personally owned vehicle. McCann claimed at the time that he had driven over 500,000 miles since his first campaign and the purchase, rather than the lease of the vehicle would be cost prohibitive.

According to the new Sun-Times Report, McCann billed his campaign fund more than $36,000 for 15 mileage expenditures in 2017 and 2018 alone, campaign finance records show. At the federal mileage-reimbursement rates for those years, McCann would have driven almost 68,000 miles on campaign business. Since July 2014, McCann has expenses totaling near $114,000 in mileage costs from his campaign fund, records show. During that time, McCann won re-election to his Senate seat and made an unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018 under a newly formed third-party called the Conservative Party.

McCann had been absent from public headlines since the gubernatorial race in November, but re-entered Jacksonville politics in April after publicly endorsing the newly-elected South Jacksonville trustee Todd Warrick.

The subpoena, sent on January 3rd, came at the behest of U.S. Assistant State’s Attorney Timothy Bass. He was the one-time lead prosecutor for the case against U.S. Congressman Aaron Schock’s corruption case. Currently, McCann has not been charged with any crimes or accused of wrongdoing. The Plainview, Illinois conservative has made no public comments about the subpoena at this time.