Yesterday, Lincolnshire resident Dixon O’Brien filed a federal lawsuit against the Village of Lincolnshire, claiming that his tax dollars were being diverted to organizations which lobby against his beliefs and best interests.
At issue is Lincolnshire’s membership in the Illinois Municipal League (IML), which accepts tax dollars as membership fees to support lobbying efforts to limit collective bargaining rights, reduce pension benefits, and slash wages on publicly funded construction projects.
O’Brien is a professional engineer and a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 150, a co-plaintiff in this lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
“As a union member, the IML’s lobbying efforts not only conflict with my personal beliefs, but in many instances would directly harm me,” said O’Brien. “I should not be forced to fund attacks on my values, wellbeing and paycheck. This is a violation of my free speech, and I will fight to put a stop to it.”
The Liberty Justice Center, which represents the Village, asserted in its Janus v. AFSCME brief that union “agency fees thus inflict the same grievous First Amendment injury as would the government forcing individuals to support a mandatory lobbyist or political advocacy group.”
“Lincolnshire is one of many communities in Illinois using taxpayers’ money to lobby for wage and benefit cuts that would hurt those very taxpayers,” said IUOE Local 150 President-Business Manager James M. Sweeney. “It is beyond unacceptable, and is a glaring example of bad government stacking the deck against its own constituents.”
As relief, the plaintiffs request an injunction preventing Lincolnshire from using tax revenue on political or lobbying activities and a judgment that Lincolnshire’s taxpayer-funded support of the IML is unconstitutional. O’Brien is also seeking a refund of any portion of his tax dollars that have been spent on political or lobbying activities through the IML or any other organization.