State rep calls for deeper investigation into Illinois Auditor General's campaign finances
Over a year after reports of questionable campaign expenditures on behalf of Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino were first revealed, one state representative is still calling for a more robust investigation.
State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) said "there is no question" that campaign finances of the former state representative need to be examined.
Mautino, a Democrat, was appointed auditor general in December 2015, succeeding William Holland who retired in the third year of his 10-year term. Prior to his appointment, Mautino, 53, served in the 76th District of the State House for 24 years and became a deputy majority leader in 2011.
Not only is Kay joining in the calls for an investigation of Mautino's spending, Kay also said he has contacted the Illinois State Board of Elections to provide him records, particularly about expenses relating to Mautino's previous campaigns.
The focus of recent reporting mostly center around Mautino's fuel and repair expenditures, which reportedly topped $200,000 in almost 11 years.
Kay said that based on what he's seen so far, the figure may be closer to $500,000.
"That's a sum that would get anyone's attention," Kay said. "I intend to find out, exactly, what is the legitimacy of those expenses."
The accountability group, Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) claims to have quantified $213,338.31 in campaign gas and vehicle repairs paid by Mautino’s political committee since 2005 to a single vendor in Mautino's hometown of Spring Valley, Happy’s Super Service Station. That averages out to about $20,000 per year or $55 each day for the 10-year and nine-month period.
Shortly after ECW first broke the story involving Mautino's questionable campaign spending the auditor general hired a PR firm and has kept his silence on the matter. In May 2016, a representative for Mautino revealed the auditor general was the focus of a federal investigation, but the matter has been little discussed since. In addition, Mautino has faced criticism for refusing to turn over financial records to a state elections board and for failing to engage in a dialogue with state legislatures who have asked him to step down with investigations into his campaign expenditures are ongoing.
Brandi McGuire, a former Republican candidate for the 72nd state House district and director of Skiles Driving School in East Moline, said in a press release that what Mautino reportedly claimed in vehicular costs “is possibly more than our entire fleet of five cars that we used daily for students.”
McGuire also referred to last year's resignation of U.S. Representative for Illinois's 18th Congressional District, Republican Aaron Schock after news reports of misappropriated gas and travel reimbursements.
"I believe these gross amounts of questionable transactions need further examination," McGuire said in her press release.
Another watchdog group, the nonpartisan "Reboot Illinois," has called for Mautino to resign.
Mautino is the third individual to hold the title of auditor general -- the post was created in 1970 to provide oversight to state spending.
He also served 18 years on the Legislative Audit Commission before resigning from that panel last summer to get in line for the auditor position. His father, the late state Rep. Richard “Dick” Mautino, occupied the House seat his son would move into from 1975 until his death in 1991.