Critics pan $5,000 fine over Mautino financial reports, request criminal inquiry
The Illinois State Board of Elections slapped a $5,000 fine on Auditor General Frank Mautino's campaign committee on Monday for failing to comply with board order to update financial disclosure reports filed in 2014 and 2015.
Board member Andrew Carruthers’ motion to have the matter referred to the state's attorney general and the La Salle County state’s attorney for prosecution later failed along party lines. The vote to fine the panel was supported 6-2.
Appointed auditor in October 2015, Mautino was ordered by the board in 2016 to hand over documents related to hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks and transactions between 1999 and 2015 at Spring Valley Bank and a service station in his district.
The State Journal-Register reported Mautino’s campaign paid out roughly $225,000 for gas and car repairs to the gas station in question and another $200,000 to Spring Valley.
Mautino never moved to satisfy the board’s order to make the documents available to investigators, electing instead to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.
In April, the board ruled he was in direct violation of the order and moved to take disciplinary actions.
But Mautino’s troubles could be far from over.
“We think the board failed to address substantive issues,” Jeffrey Schwab, the Liberty Justice Center staff attorney who represents David Cooke in the action against Mautino, told the Sangamon Sun. “We will probably file some sort of motion to bring this back before the board over the next few days.”
In exercising his Fifth Amendment rights, Mautino cited the fact that he is now under federal probe in a separate matter.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) wants to know how Mautino is able to maintain his $157,000 auditor general job and receive all the pension perks and other benefits that come with it given his shaky legal and ethical status.
Ives said she thinks Mautino, a key lieutenant under House Speaker Mike Madigan during his days as a state representative, should be removed from office.
“In this instance, what needs to be made clear is whether his committee violated election code,” Schwab said. “It seems the board does think this is not something that needs to be further addressed, but we still clearly see the merits of Mr. Cook’s actions.”
The 54-year-old Mautino also has previously been implicated in a federal probe into patronage hiring in Cook County, prompting a citizen’s watchdog group to call his entire legacy into question.
“Mautino’s shaded past and current actions prove he will always operate in his best interest, not the best interest of the state,” the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW) posted on their Illinois Leaks website.