Local Senator and independent gubernatorial candidate Sam McCann is taking the state’s top-ranking Republican to court after filing a lawsuit against Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady.
Around mid-April, McCann, who currently serves the people of Illinois’ 50th Senate District, announced that he will be making a run for Illinois’ top political position and unseat Governor Bruce Rauner as an independent, third party candidate. Since that announcement, McCann is claiming that Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady of Bloomington has denied him access to GOP caucus funding typically available to every senator within said caucus – and that by doing so, McCann says Brady is violating the First and 14th amendments.
On Tuesday, McCann officially filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. In the suit, the plaintiffs listed include McCann himself, as well as his constituent Bruce McDaniel, and list the Illinois Senate Republican Caucus, Illinois Republican Party and Brady as the defendants.
In the lawsuit filed by McCann, the Senator from Plainview makes the claim that Brady removed McCann from the caucus on April 19th, the same day McCann announced his run for governor – with McCann claiming that his ejection from the caucus occurred without first holding a hearing, in turn taking away his access to operational resources funded through Illinois taxpayers. According to Illinois statute, the Senate president and minority leader are required to split their total funds evenly with all senators. Currently, the Senate’s total funds hold approximately $5.3 million dollars, meaning each senator would receive $73-thousand dollars to be spent within their district.
A major point of contention between both sides deals with the manner in which McCann lost membership to the Republican caucus. In a statement from Brady released April 19th, he claims that McCann offered up his resignation from the caucus voluntarily. Brady even took to Twitter to reaffirm his claim, saying that it was McCann that left the Illinois Republican Party rather than the other way around, pointing to claims that McCann’s voting record was often in line with and supportive of Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan.In McCann’s rebuttal, he denies Brady’s claim that he offered his resignation from the Republican caucus.
McCann’s suit points to the fact that, by being denied funding and staff support, Brady and the defense have taken away McCann’s right of freedom of speech, and by denying him the proper resources, McCann claims that Brady had removed equal protection to the constituents of Illinois’ 50th District.