More pressure on Mautino to resign after being slapped with $5,000 fine
Auditor General Frank Mautino was hit with a $5,000 penalty on Monday for violating a State Board of Elections (SBE) order that he disclose past financial dealings.
Faisal Khan, the CEO and president of Project Six and former legislative inspector general for the Chicago City Council, told the Sangamon Sun that Mautino’s actions reflect the lack of trust he now holds as the state's top government overseer.
"The fine handed down was $5,000," Khan said. "Which on the surface, it appears to be lower than what it should be, based on conduct that's alleged of Mr. Mautino. The fine is largely symbolic. Mr. Mautino won't have to pay that fine unless he runs for office again or reactivates his campaign committee. The reality is that the fine is just more representative that Mautino did something wrong and should be the impetus for him to reconsider staying on as auditor general."
According to an article on Illinois Leaks, the website of the Edgar County Watchdogs, Philip Krasny, the SBE hearing officer, charged Mautino’s political committee with “willfully violated” an order to amend his campaign finance disclosure reports after omitting thousands of dollars paid to a local gas station and bank.
“Mr. Mautino is not just a regular candidate, not just a regular elected official in office: He is the auditor general,” Khan said. “That means he is a higher authority in Illinois. Just like other prosecutors, investigators and cops. Not only he does he have a higher authority, he has to be held to a higher authority. That is the reality of it. The problem here, I feel, is that Mr. Mautino put himself in a situation that there is little for him but to step aside from his position. Currently, there has to be protection for the office of the auditor general, not just protection for Frank Mautino.”
Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) told the Sangamon Sun that he also thinks Mautino should step down.
“If this discovery had been on Mr. Mautino's resume he would never have been confirmed, and I would not have voted for him,” he said. “He needs to resign and save our state any more embarrassment.”
McCarter is part of a group of Republican lawmakers calling on Mautino to step down. In 2016, House Republicans filed a resolution asking Mautino to quit.
“His conduct, even in its allegation form, presents not only a potential criminality but also clear ethical violations in spending over $200,000 on gas and cars,” Khan said. “It would be prudent for Mr. Mautino to step aside because he has the duty to protect this office and the work that comes out of it.”
At the April 20 preliminary hearing, Mautino’s committee failed to furnish documentation requested by board authorities in May 2016.
The Board of Elections can’t fine individuals, only committees. Regardless, Mautino served as the chair of his own committee.
David Cooke, a resident of Streator, filed the initial complaint that has led to the state hearing. The complaint focused on Mautino's campaign spending to Happy’s Service State and Spring Valley City Bank.
“No reasonable person would expect to pay this type of money on fuel and expenses in this time period," Cooke said in the complaint.
Mautino has exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination throughout the process.