Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino is currently facing a federal investigation after questions arose over his campaign spending during his 24-year tenure as a Democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives.
An investigation by the Illinois State Board of Elections launched last January—three weeks after Mautino assumed office—called into question more than $200,000 of Mautino’s campaign expenses that included money spent on gas, vehicle repairs, parking, pizza, and travel reimbursements. The investigation also revealed campaign workers hired at the Spring Valley Bank, as well as loan payments to the bank that exceeded the loans that were taken out.
“You name it, he did it,” Kirk Allen, co-founder of Edgar County Watchdogs, told the Record. “He was still raising and spending campaign money after he had been selected as auditor general.”
Republican state legislators sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the Office of Auditor General on Feb. 9 and Feb. 15 asking Mautino for answers to the questionable spending and got no response.
Earlier this month, a third letter was sent to Mautino seeking compliance, without a response.
On May 17, a FOIA lawsuit was filed by Allen against Mautino in the 5th Judicial Circuit Court in Edgar County.
“He is refusing to answer any legislative questions,” said Allen. “We are going to hold him accountable. He thought it was all going to go away.”
Allen says that Mautino did try to argue with the State Board of Elections.
“Somebody filed a complaint over campaign law violations against him and he tried to tell the state board it didn’t have any authority because the campaign is now closed,” said Allen. “The board rejected that—it has full authority over campaign expenditures whether the campaign is open or closed. They have given Mautino until July 1 to answer accordingly.”
Allen said that Mautino’s spokesperson confirmed that Mautino is cooperating the U.S. Attorney’ office in a federal investigation, adding that Mautino and his campaign workers are under federal grand jury subpoenas.
Allen expects GOP legislators will hold a press conference soon to ask Mautino to resign.
“When you a have the top watchdog in the state—the guy that’s supposed to be holding all state agencies accountable to legal spending—breaking the campaign laws, that’s a problem,” he said.