Illinois (ECWd) -
Over the past month, we have attempted to get confirmation that Auditor General Frank Mautino's claimed cooperation with the US Attorney's investigation was, in fact, a "criminal" investigation as many have attempted to imply that it was not a criminal investigation.
Today we can confirm, there is a federal criminal investigation that parallels the proceedings with the State Board of Elections against Auditor General Frank Mautino. According to documents provided to the State Board of Elections, the criminal investigation by the federal authorities relates to the Committee's and, by extension, Mautino's campaign expenditures and his disclosures of campaign expenditures to the State Board of Elections (SBE).
The record reflects a request for a stay in the SBE hearings. Mautino's attorney stated, "When a federal investigative matter is pending during the course of a civil action, the Board can stay the civil action based on the Fifth Amendment until the resolution of the federal investigative matter."
Mautino's Attorney goes on to state: "This case should be stayed so that Frank J. Mautino ("Mautino") will not be forced to have to choose to claim or waive the protection of his Fifth Amendment rights in this Illinois State Board of Elections ("Board") proceeding where there is a pending, parallel federal criminal investigation and both proceedings involve the same subject matter".
Based on this filing, it appears Mautino would plead the Fifth to the SBE in the event they move forward with the complaint filed against him. This also implies he has not yet pled the Fifth contrary to earlier reporting, but clearly appears to be moving in that direction if the SBE decides to move forward with their proceedings.
What I found most interesting in this particular document was the attorney's recognition that the federal investigation is targeting the Committees campaign funds it places Mautino at risk of potentially facing criminal charges?
"Although no party has been indicted, the fact that the federal investigation is ongoing and that it concerns the use of the Committee's campaign funds by Mautino, places Mautino at risk of potentially facing criminal charges."
The fact his own attorney recognizes the potential for criminal charges appears to be a pretty big indicator of the trouble Mautino is in.
Based on the document it appears Mautino has few choices. "If Mautino is forced to amend his Committee's campaign finance reports he will be faced with the choice of whether to claim or waive the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination."
Considering he has delayed answering any questions to date and the fact this particular posture was taken with the State Board of Elections, it appears his only real option is to plead the Fifth. If Mautino has done nothing wrong there would be no problem waiving his Fifth Amendment privilege and clearly, that is not going to be the case as anyone reading the reports he filed can see the vast number of problems with them.
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