Illinois (ECWd) -
In a state that is truly crumbling, we find investigators who can't comprehend and apply the law, police who refuse to investigate public officials, appointed board members who can't even do the one job they were assigned to do and top elected and appointed officials that lie. Yes, this is Illinois. This problem is not just at the State level but from the bottom up, Township to the Governor.
Frank Mautino was appointed to the top Watchdog position of the State of Illinois, Auditor General. A position that demands trust and accountability. We first broke the story on what we alleged as clear illegal spending and reporting of campaign funds in this article January 21st, 2016. The interest went viral and numerous other media outlets dogpiled on the top watchdog.
Even viral enough for the US Attorney to get involved, which initially resulted in claims of cooperation from Mautino's public relations person, yet here we sit almost two years later with not a peep from those authorities, much like matters at the College of DuPage. All indications to the public is our laws don't apply to connected officials.
David Cook, a concerned citizen filed a formal complaint with the State Board of Elections based on our reporting in February of 2016. The State Board failed to do their job and provide a simple answer to the original complaint. Instead, it appeared to be duck and cover, avoid the real complaint at all cost, and protect wrongdoing based on political affiliation.
What has transpired since the first exposure?
- Frank Mautino invoked the Fifth Ammendent.
- Governor Rauner has been silent, even though Mautino invoked his Fifth Amendment rights. To most people, a message of silence is a message of support. That's troubling.
- Mautino violated FOIA, and admitted as much in the answer to our FOIA lawsuit - Governor still silent.
- State Board refused reconsideration of their failed ruling. Governor appoints those members.
- State Board of Elections failed to request a criminal investigation. It would be Lisa Madigan that would have to investigate her daddy's hand-picked Auditor General.
- A criminal complaint filed by me, with the County Sheriff in both Sangamon and Bureau County. Bureau county refused to investigate and not a word from Sangamon County Sheriff.
- Criminal Complaint filed with the State Police. One phone call confirmed they received it and they are going to talk with the US Attorney to make sure no toes are stepped on. Not a peep since that call months ago.
- Criminal Complaint filed with the US Attorney. Zero communication from them.
So what is left for citizens in this state to ever see justice when public officials act well outside the scope of the law? In the case of Mautino, we have our first hearing on his FOIA violation next month, however, that will not remove him from office, which is what should happen. Criminal complaints appear to go nowhere so we don't anticipate him ever being held accountable in that venue. Speaker Madigan has no problem ignoring house resolutions calling for his removal, and the Governor, still silent.
The only option left to get some sense of justice is being taken by David Cook, in the form of an appeal to the Appellate Court seeking justice. What is the justice? It's pretty simple. A ruling on his original complaint to the State Board of Elections.
Just as we said when the SBE made their original complaint, we find the same information in the brief filed this month with the Appellate Court.
On May 18, 2017, the Board entered a “final order” finding that the Committee had willfully failed to comply with the Board’s May 2016 order, but it did not address the claims Cooke alleged in his complaint.
They are asking the court two simple questions, which when you know the history of this case and the law, should have never needed to be asked had the SBE done their job.
- Did the Illinois Election Code and the Illinois Administrative Code require the Board to address the merits of Cooke’s claims alleging that the Committee’s reported expenditures to Happy’s and the Bank violated the Illinois Election Code?
- Does the evidence Cooke provided to the Board show that the Committee violated the Illinois Election Code by making, and not properly reporting, illegal expenditures to Happy’s and the Bank?
We pray the courts will finally provide justice to the people of this state and find that the answer to both questions before them is a YES!