A “journalist in residence” at the Illinois Policy Institute filed a federal lawsuit in Springfield Tuesday against House Speaker Michael Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton and their respective press aids after being denied media credentials.
The Illinois Policy Institute's Scott Reeder charged in the lawsuit that his First and 14th Amendment rights were violated when he was denied floor-access media credentials from the two chambers back in mid January.
Reeder pens columns that are provided to news publications via the Illinois News Network, which is affiliated with the Illinois Policy Institute. The Chicago Sun-Times noted that media credentials that allow access the floor of the state House and Senate are not given to those involved with lobbying efforts, something the Illinois Policy Institute has taken part in.
In a letter rejecting Reeder's application for the press credentials, Cullerton's chief legal counsel Eric Madiar wrote, “You are ineligible at this time to obtain a Senate media credential because you are employed by the Illinois News Network, which is part of and an assumed name for, the Illinois Policy Institute."
“As such, the Illinois News Network is not per the guidelines ‘owned and operated independently of any industry, institution, association or lobbying organization," the letter added.
In his lawsuit, Reeder questioned why Chicago Tribune journalists have been granted floor-access press credentials, because the newspaper in 2000 was registered as a lobbying group in the state's capital. In 2002 and 2003, the Chicago Tribune also brought on lobbyists, the lawsuit added.