Illinois (ECWd) -
Surprisingly, we were the first to break the story on Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino and his clearly questionable spending of over $213,000.00 on gas and repairs for campaign vehicles. (First article here)
It has been 2 weeks since my first communications with his office, and to date, silence. Is this a case where silence speaks volumes? The silence is not surprising considering I asked three really tough questions....
- Is this vehicle owned by the campaign or a personal vehicle?
- What is the make, model, and year of the vehicle?
- Is the vehicle used for personal use or strictly campaign purposes?
Since that first article, the most that has been shared is a response to Capitol Fax with a claim there is more than one vehicle, and then a few days later a press release that failed to answer a single question. According to the Illinois Times, Mautino has retained public relations consultant Ryan Keith to act as his spokesman in handling questions about campaign spending.
My question now is, who is paying for this public relations consultant? Tax payer funds, personal funds, or campaign funds? I ask because the questions pertain to his campaign and the the use of taxpayer funds to respond would be inappropriate.
Each and every time we have seen a public official hire a PR person for their response to tough questions it has led to even more exposure of potential wrong doing. The College of DuPage is a perfect example. The now-terminated President, in coordination with past Chairman Erin Birt, hired a PR firm and spent hundreds of thousands in tax payer dollars in an attempt to spin the wrongdoing which actually led to a landslide upset in the last election. Those two are now on the outside looking in. I suspect the same will be the case for Mautino before this is all over with.
According to the Illinois Times, Tom Newman, director of the division of campaign disclosure at the Illinois State Board of Elections, said that he can’t explain why a bank would receive money for such things. “To me, it sounds like a situation of a (campaign) committee that doesn’t quite know how to report these things,” Newman said. “There may be some sloppy reporting going on.”
That statement says more than anything Mautino could spew out through a PR Firm. At a minimum it points to “There may be some sloppy reporting going on”, is more than enough to demand he step down from his post.
If he can't recognize sloppy reporting in his own work, how on earth can we ever trust he can recognize it with state agencies of which he is suppose to be looking at? The bigger question, can we trust our Auditor General when he clearly misleads the public about his reason for raising campaign money just months before taking his non-political, political appointment.
I think the answer is simple. No! Records prove he lied to the Illinois Times regarding his need to raise campaign money, "to see if they could help me clear up campaign debts and office-closing expenses." Records prove he no longer had any debt as it was paid off in August and possibly much earlier based on details we uncovered. His claim he raised money for campaign debts is completely bogus. In fact, he has yet to explain how $94,000.00 in loan payments were made to the bank when only $26,000.00 in loans were recorded by his campaign.
Silence for 2 weeks on an issue that has now garnered the attention of state and national media coverage. If he can't tell the truth and is unable to keep his own campaign reporting in order, he can't be trusted to protect the taxpayers in this state as the Auditor General.
Sadly, we see politicians like State Representativee John Anthony, R-Joliet, say he wouldn't "jump" on Mautino". "I have to be objective. I guess that's my cop background," he said. "From the first time I met Frank Mautino, he's been nothing but good to me." (Web Times article)
For a former cop to make that kind of statement in light of all the serious and valid questions raised, it makes us wonder how far this country has gone off the edge. "Been nothing but good to me" I guess Representative Anthony forgot that Al Capone started the first soup kitchen in 1931. A lot of people liked him because he fed them. I suspect many would have said 'Capone has been nothing but good to me'. Sadly, he was still a very bad man! Only thorough investigations will tell us about Mautino's campaign irregularities.
Since we broke the story on January 21st, 2016, the following are links to other media picking up the battle cry for answers, of which none have been provided to anyone of them.
- Our stories on Mautino
- 13 articles on USofArn
- CBS News Channel 2 - Chicago
- News Gazette - Auditor Must go
- News Gazette - Audit the Auditor
- 16 Different stories from My Web Times at this link
- 9 Different Stories from the Illinois Times
- Reboot Illinois - Mautino must step down
- Daily Herald - Auditor must step down
- Daily Herald - Ethics questions nag Illinois Auditor General Mautino
- Madison Record
- Paris Beacon
- WQAD 8
As of this mornings publication, we understand federal authorities have been notified, although we have been unable to confirm if a formal investigation has begun. Considering the history with Arron Shrock and his campaign spending, we suspect Mautino will be next on the investigation list by the Feds because of possible bank reporting issues, which may qualify as a federal matter. The other matters are going to have to work out through the State Board of Elections and the Illinois Attorney General's office, which we have no faith in the later when it comes to public corruption.
In the event we ever get a response out of Mautino we will publish it promptly. In the mean time, stay tuned for even more problematic exposure for the top Auditor, Frank Mautino.
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