Following months of intense scrutiny and public
outcry over his reluctance to answer questions about his suspicious campaign
reporting, Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino invoked his Fifth Amendment
right to remain silent to avoid incriminating himself amid an ongoing federal
On June 1, Mautino’s attorney, Tony Jacob, asked the State Board of Elections to
give Mautino more time to respond to the board’s questions about his campaign
spending while the federal investigation continues.
Last month, the board gave Mautino up to July 1 to amend his campaign
County Watchdogs, a self-appointed government watchdog group that has called
out mayors, board chairmen and state's attorneys since 2010, says Mautino’s
request should not only be denied, but the Auditor General should step down
resign immediately as the people of this state will never trust him as our
Auditor General knowing he chose to stay silent to avoid self-incrimination on
civil matters that could potentially lead to criminal charges,” the watchdog
group wrote on its website. “It
was revealed several weeks ago that he is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s
criminal investigation. If he does not plead the Fifth with the U.S. Attorney
that may imply he is providing information that may point to other political
A cloud of suspicion has loomed over the former state Representative
since January, when Mautino’s disclosure reports showed
extravagant spending — over $200,000 — on gas and vehicle repairs over the
span of 11 years to Happy’s
Super Service in Spring Valley, which is Mautino’s hometown.
Watchdogs quantified the amount to be $213,338.31. Also raising eyebrows were over
$200,000 in irregular payments to Spring Valley City Bank, prompting the State Board of
Elections to launch an investigation into the matter.
According to WebTimes,
the board’s general counsel is recommending that the board grant Mautino’s
request, which does not sit well with the watchdog group.
“May I suggest Gov. Rauner take any and all
possible steps to replace any State Board of Elections Board members that votes
to postpone the case and also push for a replacement legal counsel for that
board,” the group wrote. “The reason is simple. If the U.S. Attorney
wanted those hearings delayed they would have informed them of such. In
addition, for the legal counsel to claim there is no urgency is a slap in the
face to every citizen in this state.”
The Auditor General is tasked with auditing the use of the
state’s public funds and reports
findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and governor.
The state conducted a nationwide search to replace former
Auditor General William Holland, who
retired last December after 23 years of service. During his tenure, Holland
earned a reputation for serving the state in a nonpartisan and precise manner.
Mautino had served as State Representative for 24 years, including 15 years as a co-chairman of the Legislative
Audit Commission, when a legislative
panel recommended him to oversee how tax dollars are spent as Auditor General.
The Legislative Audit Committee voted 11-1in favor of Mautino, the former
co-chair of the panel.
Legislators in both parties supported Mautino — the
Senate approved his nomination by a 55-0 vote, and the House, 102-10. He began
serving as auditor general on Jan.1.
Mautino was chosen over three other finalists: Mary
Modelski, a division chief for Internal Audit for Alameda County, California;
Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, a chief negotiator on pension issues; and Larry
Sanders, general counsel for the Rend Lake Conservancy District.
fragile condition of the state, and the fact that citizens of Illinois are
struggling to trust elected and appointed officials, the board’s investigation
into Mautino “should be dealt with the utmost urgency,” the watchdog group
asserted. “Short of
the U.S. Attorney sending a request to delay, the State Board of Elections should
hold Frank Mautino’s feet to the fire, on schedule, just like any other person
in this state!”
will make a decision on Mautino’s request in its meeting next Monday.