A recent investigative report alleges that former State Senator Sam McCann may be exploiting a campaign funding loophole to pay himself for personal expenses. Mark Maxwell of WCIA discovered that McCann’s Conservative Party, which he formed during the gubernatorial election over a year ago, spent $168,665 in payroll expenses. The names of employees for the party who were paid were undisclosed. The party has no candidates running for office in 2020, despite McCann receiving ballot access in 81 counties.
Secret payments from political campaigns funds are illegal in the State of Illinois and recipients of payroll expenses from campaign funds must be disclosed. After McCann’s 2018 loss, he transferred $1.3 million from his campaign account into the Conservative Party of Illinois fund, according to Illinois State Board of Elections records. To this date, the party has had no other donors. During his campaign for governor, McCann raised several thousands of dollars from labor unions around the state tied closely to House Speaker Michael Madigan.
According to figures uncovered by Maxwell, the party spent $9,026 in lease payments, $2,261 on phones, $899 in restaurants, and $910 at Scheels in Springfield for gifts for campaign workers whose names were not reported. Maxwell says that the expenses appear similar to McCann’s own campaign expenses routinely taken from his campaign fund.
According to ISBE campaign finance reports, the Conservative Party’s cash reserves only have $107, 616. McCann continues to remain under federal investigations during his time as a State Senator for mileage reimbursements, per diem payments, and other expenses.