Election board deadlocks on what to do about Mautino
Despite an ongoing federal investigation, the Illinois State Board of Elections is having a difficult time deciding whether or not the state’s auditor general is guilty of corruption.
Auditor General Frank Mautino has yet to be formally charged with any wrongdoing, but he has been fined $5,000 by the elections board for what it believes are violations of finance rules committed by his now-defunct campaign committee.
On July 10, the board rendered a vote of 4-4 on a proposal to send Mautino’s case to the attorney general and the LaSalle County state’s attorney for possible prosecution.
The vote stalled after several board members thought they were getting nowhere as Mautino refused to answer its questions during the hearing process. Any answers given were through his attorney, Anthony Jacob, who has been his spokesman.
Mautino came under fire when he could not answer questions for missing receipts tied to gas and vehicle repairs spanning over 16 years, and for missing cash receipts tied to his former campaign’s bank account. His campaign committee spent more than $225,000 on gas and repairs, some of which have been tied to his personal vehicles and those of family members; and also cashed checks at a local bank totaling $150,000.
The repairs and gas were purchased at Happy’s Super Service in Spring Valley; and the checks were cashed at Spring Valley City Bank.
Documents show that Mautino’s campaign had a pattern of writing checks rounded to the nearest $10 or $100 amount, and cashing them for expenditures. But what he or campaign staff bought remains a mystery as they only kept receipts some of the time. There is no documentation of what happened with leftover money, what was done with it or who it may have gone to.
Mautino was a state representative from 1991 until he was appointed auditor general in 2016. State Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) filed a resolution in January 2017 to begin the process of removing Mautino from his current post.
“Our auditor general cannot answer simple financial questions about the books that he was supposed to be in charge of and yet now he’s the fiscal watchdog of our state,” Wehrili said in an interview with the Illinois News Network. “It’s absolutely unconscionable to me that this man remains in office.”
Only one formal complaint has been filed against Mautino. David Cooke, a resident in Mautino’s district and a former Streator High School board member, filed a complaint with the elections board after reading stories that Mautino was failing to account for his spending over the last decade and a half.
Cooke has been working with the Liberty Justice Center, a Chicago-based partner of the Illinois Policy Institute, to keep the case open.