Feds Seek Records On Third-Party Illinois Governor Candidate | WBEZ
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Feds Seek Records On Third-Party Illinois Governor Candidate

A former state senator, who was a third-party candidate for Illinois governor last fall, appears now to be the subject of a federal investigation after a grand jury subpoenaed his reimbursement records and emails from the state Senate.

The subpoena recently obtained by WBEZ seeks all emails, mileage reimbursement records, per diem payments and any other payments made to former state Sen. Sam McCann “related to offices maintained by and expenses claimed by” McCann.

The Jan. 3, 2019, records request covers a span between 2011 to 2018, a period that covers the entirety of McCann’s career in the Illinois Senate.

McCann, who has not been accused of wrongdoing, told WBEZ Thursday in a text message that he had not been made aware of the subpoena until learning of it through WBEZ. He declined further comment.

McCann expensed $26,061.74 in travel reimbursements during his tenure in the Senate, according to records from the Illinois Comptroller. McCann, a Republican from downstate Plainview, served from 2011 until January 2019.

Campaign finance records show he also received more than $36,000 in mileage reimbursements from his campaign fund in 2017 and 2018. That would translate to nearly 68,000 miles of driving, based on IRS approved mileage reimbursement rates at the time.

Before his successful 2016 legislative re-election bid, McCann’s mileage reimbursements arose as an issue and led to a complaint filed with the State Board of Elections. That complaint was later withdrawn.

In political circles, McCann became best known in Illinois for his high-profile clash with former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who worked to unseat him from the Senate, which provoked McCann to play the role of spoiler in Rauner’s re-election bid last year.

But McCann’s presence on the gubernatorial ballot as the “Conservative Party” candidate did not prove decisive. He finished third in last fall’s four-way governor’s race, drawing more than 192,000 votes statewide. That accounted for only 4 percent of the vote in the election, which Rauner lost to Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker by nearly 15 percentage points.

Tony Arnold and Dave McKinney cover Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow them at @tonyjarnold and @davemckinney.

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