More Revelations on McCann’s Alleged Spending of Campaign Funds in Federal Court Filings From this Week

By Benjamin Cox on November 11, 2023 at 7:21am

The federal trial for a former State Senator and one-time gubernatorial candidate indicted for wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion is set to begin later this month.

New court motions filed last Friday have revealed some new information in the case against former 50th District State Senator William “Sam” McCann. McCann served the listening area as State Senator from 2011 to 2019. In 2018, McCann created a third party to run for governor against former Republican governor Bruce Rauner and the eventual winner of the election, Democrat J.B. Pritzker.

In February 2021, McCann was indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois on charges of fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion related to his alleged misuse of campaign money for personal expenses. The indictment alleges that from May 2015 to June 2020, McCann engaged in a scheme to convert more than $200,000 in contributions and donations made to his campaign committees to pay himself and make personal purchases, and that he concealed his fraud from donors, the public, the Illinois State Board of Elections, and law enforcement.

Among the items in the original indictment that McCann is said to have purchased was a trailer and motor home, which he titled to himself. Further, it is alleged that in 2018, McCann had these items listed for rent on RVshare, an online rental service, and arranged to rent the items, also with campaign funds. In doing so, RVshare then made certain rental payments to McCann into his personal bank account.

The indictment also alleges that after his unsuccessful run for Illinois Governor, McCann accepted ongoing payroll payments from the Conservative Party of Illinois, the political entity he formed to run for Governor as a third-party candidate. These payments form the basis for the money laundering and tax evasion charges.

In filings last Friday, McCann’s attorneys are seeking to bar conduct that has gone beyond those initial allegations, which they have labeled “uncharged conduct” in a limine motion prior to trial. According to the court filing, the defense is seeking to omit and bar the government’s prosecutors from presenting evidence that McCann may have also purchased through the campaign funds a family vacation in Colorado, charges to Apple’s Itunes, Amazon charges, a skeet and trap club membership, various retail expenses from big box stores, multiple cash withdrawals, as well as the fact that McCann filed state board of elections quarterly reports outside of deadlines.

Responses to these pretrial motions were due Friday in federal court. A final pretrial conference has been set for next Friday, November 17th in Springfield before Judge Colleen Lawless. A jury trial has been scheduled to begin on Monday, November 27th.