SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — Senator Bill Brady’s tenure as Minority Leader faces new uncertainty after Senator Jason Plummer, Brady’s former 2010 gubernatorial running mate, accused Brady of offering him an appointment to sit on the Joint Commission on Ethics and Lobbying Reform in exchange for muting his criticism of Brady’s side gig working to promote video gaming terminals in bars.
“It was said multiple times that he would not appoint me if I followed through on filing that legislation that I had worked on, or if I spoke publicly about it,” Plummer told WCIA on Monday night. “I was kind of surprised that he was as forward as he was. I said to him, I said, ‘Geez, Bill.’”
“I recall the conversation with great detail because it wasn’t just one conversation,” Plummer added.
Several Senate Republicans, who asked to speak anonymously, said Plummer’s explosive allegations could make it incredibly difficult for Brady to keep enough votes in his camp to win re-election to keep his post in 2021.
“I tried to handle this in a professional manner,” Plummer said. “I went through the proper channels.”
On Monday, Plummer sent a letter to Brady and the Senate Republican leadership team informing them he would not comply with Brady’s restrictions. Senator Brady promptly responded with a letter of his own, and replaced Plummer with Senator Dan McConchie, a Republican from Hawthorn Woods. McConchie says the appointment came as a surprise, and he claims Brady would only tell him at first that Plummer had resigned “for whatever reason.”
Plummer, an Edwardsville Republican, claims Brady’s aides quizzed him about legislation he has drafted that would outlaw elected officials from earning income to operate or promote video gaming terminals. Plummer says he has drafted, but not yet filed, Senate Bill 2318, which would prohibit any member from the General Assembly from receiving any income from a gaming related interest. The idea has been discussed by a number of Senate Republicans, who say they would support it, even though it would outlaw Brady from keeping one of his side jobs.
Financial records first obtained by WBEZ and Pro Publica reveal Brady held a significant financial interest in Midwest Electronics Gaming, a company that operates video gaming terminals in restaurants and bars in Illinois. Brady declined to reveal how much the company paid him in commission as a salesman, but he abstained from voting on a bill to expand video gambling this year, citing a conflict of interest. Current state law does not require Brady to disclose how much income he earns from gambling interests.