PAC: Questions over Marine-service claim 'disqualify' McCann from re-election
A recent campaign ad by Liberty Principles PAC said state Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) “is disqualified” from his re-election bid in the 50th District because he lied about his military service.
“It was bad enough when McCann took 80 grand in shady reimbursements, but when he lied about serving in the Marines, that was the last straw,” the campaign ad said. “Military records show McCann never served, ever.”
Instead, the PAC said McCann's opponent in the GOP primary, Bryce Benton, was the right choice for senator.
“For state Senate, it’s a question of character," the ad said. "Bryce Benton protects our community as an Illinois state trooper. Commitment, service, integrity – Bryce Benton is the choice.”
An Illinois Liberty PAC mailer said McCann presented himself as a military veteran during his 2010 campaign and claimed he had received an honorable discharge, yet the PAC said the military has never heard of him.
It all began when McCann referenced the “courage” he learned in the Marines in a piece of campaign literature. Illinois Liberty PAC listed a quote from a State Journal-Register article addressing what McCann said.
“McCann, by the way, has mentioned service in the military on some of his campaign literature, saying he was in the Marine Corps in 1989-90, but ‘received an honorable discharge prior to completing of training due to an accident,’” Bernard Schoenburg of the State Journal-Register said.
McCann referenced the “courage” he learned in the Marines and said he was referring to “the testing and processing he went through to be a Marine. That included his being given a booklet or paper that, as he recalls it, described courage as not the ability to be unafraid, but the ability ‘no matter how afraid you are, you still do your duty.’”
But when questions about his military service were raised, McCann admitted he had never attended boot camp.
Schoenburg said McCann told him he had joined the Marines two decades ago, but was injured in a construction accident before he went to boot camp.
“McCann’s early campaign literature and political website said he was a ‘member of the U.S. Marine Corps (1989-1990)’ and ‘received an honorable discharge,’” Schoenburg said. “However, McCann was quoted this week in a newspaper interview saying, ‘I never claimed to be a veteran’ and that he was not sure of the formal type of discharge he received.”
Schoenburg also reported that McCann said he wasn’t sure technically what type of discharge he received, but said he has called it honorable because he knew it was not dishonorable. McCann said he no longer had the discharge paper, but said he asked the military for another copy, which he has yet to receive.
McCann said he enlisted in the Marines in November 1989 and was scheduled to report for basic training the following April. He signed a contract, took an oath, but was injured two months before he was scheduled to leave for training.
The Illinois Liberty PAC said the military has no record of McCann ever enlisting or being discharged.
“A Freedom of Information Act request was filed with the National Archives at St. Louis for any/all information available to the general public in McCann’s official military personnel file," the PAC said. "The National Archives confirmed no military files exist for McCann."