Since we published our story on what appears to be inappropriate spending of campaign money by our now top Auditor General in the state, it became clear an era is coming to an end. (Read that first article here)
Phone calls, e-mails, and text messages have been streaming in complimenting us for breaking this story. We are now seeing the coverage expand by many far more qualified entities, and we appreciate the fact they cited our work. With that in mind, as many of our regular readers know, this is not about who broke a story first for us.
I have said for many years, one person can make a difference in our local government, and if we first fix things locally, we might just be able to fix things at a state and national level.
The exposure of Auditor General Mautino's questionable spending had many elements involved that led up to the actual publication. With two years of efforts devoted to the College of DuPage, and more political wrangling currently taking place for an empty trustee seat, we wanted to make sure those looking into that institution don't need looked at first. Much like we did with the Higher Learning Commission that lead to exposing a similar problem explained in these articles here, here, and here.
Mautino's office is in the middle of a performance audit at COD. The outcome of that audit will have serious ramifications to those tied to the wrongdoing. I don't put it past certain trustees to attempt to pull political strings and influence a final report.
That brings us to the credibility, or lack of in my opinion, of the current Auditor General Frank Mautino. I believe the era of political appointments without proper vetting and background research is coming to an end thanks to the citizens.
An important matter that COD is currently faced with, a board appointment, if proper vetting is not performed and the ICCB appoints a person simply with political clout, it rarely serves the interest of the people.
The people are tired of both sides of the isle playing their games and taking care of their supporters, all on the backs of the taxpayer with no regard for how it effects us.
Interestingly with this investigation, is the fact several people contacted us about a potential campaign spending scandal with Frank Mautino. Considering this person was already on the radar and now several communications asking us to look into his spending, we knew this was not a coincidence.
When the Illinois Times piece was sent to me and I started comparing their report with documents in hand I knew this story would grow legs and possibly lead to the biggest scandal for that office in the History of Illinois, as if this state needs another scandal.
I want people to know this issue is not about us breaking the "big" story on Mautino's spending. This is a story about how the common citizen paying attention and sharing information leads to the exposure of potentially career ending information, and the fixing of a broken government.
The reporter for the Illinois Times deserves thanks from all of us for his first report on a quarterly filing of Mautino. Every person who sent us information deserve thanks as well. The combination of citizen involvement and one minor news report peaked our curiosity on the matter and elevated our priority on the matter. With that, we simply dug deeper sooner. Now, thankfully, others are digging even deeper and it is becoming ever so clear, Mautino has some serious problems to deal with.
Citizens are paying more attention than ever before because they see the decisions being made by political figures, and more now than ever, the majority of those decision are not making our lives easier. With communications available at our fingertips literally 24/7 we see what is going on locally faster than any newspaper or evening news could dream of covering.
It is that fact which is why I believe the era of bad actors surviving for years on the backs of the taxpayers is rapidly coming to an end! The people are awake and will no longer sit idly by why this type of activity is taking place.
It is time for the citizens to bring in a new era. An era of accountability, integrity, honor and trust. For way too long we have sat silent and convinced ourselves that we are only one person and we can't make a difference. I challenge that mind-set and believe the situation with Auditor Mautino is a perfect example of how one person can make a difference towards improving their government.
Now that legs have grown on the Mautino problems, I believe it's time to turn our attention to the very commission that brought his name forward to the House floor for a vote. Clearly they failed to do their job and ensure our Representatives had the best candidate in front of them. In addition, let this be a lesson to the Representatives that just because a caucus supports a person, it is dangerous to blindly follow those suggestions without doing your own homework.
I want to thank each and every person who provided us informatoin on this issue as well as each and ever blogger, news agency, and reporter picking up the story and digging even deeper. I believe that is the only way to ever cure the era of corruption that has plagued so much of our state for so long.
As of this morning, the following articles have been published regarding Illinois Auditor Frank Mautino and I am confident this is only the beginning.
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