Illinois (ECWd) -
We were the first to expose the improper expenditures by Frank Mautino and his Campaign Committee clear back in January of 2016, in this article. Fast forward more than five years and now the Supreme Court of Illinois has confirmed the violation in their ruling.
"By its plain language, section 9-8.10(a)(9) does not permit committees to make expenditures for gas and repairs to vehicles that are not owned or leased by the committee. For such vehicles, a committee may only make expenditures for actual mileage reimbursement. Because the Committee made expenditures for gas and repairs for vehicles it neither owned nor leased, the Committee violated section 9-8.10(a)(9), and the Board’s finding to the contrary was clearly erroneous and is reversed."
Both the Appellate Court and the Supreme Court came to the same conclusion as we did, the expenditures for gas and repairs to vehicles not owned or leased by the committee were in violation of the law.
Current instructions from the court to the State Board of Elections instruct them to make a determination if the violations were knowingly made and thus whether a fine may be levied.
"Finally, we consider the next steps due to our determination that the Committee violated section 9-8.10(a)(9). We remand the matter to the Board to address whether, pursuant to section 9-8.10(b), the violations were knowingly made and thus whether a fine may be levied. See 10 ILCS 5/9-8.10(b) (West 2016) (providing that “[t]he Board may levy a fine on any person who knowingly makes expenditures in violation of this Section” and that “[t]he Board may act under this subsection only upon the affirmative vote of at least 5 of its members”). Cooke agrees with this course of action, and the Committee raises no arguments to the contrary."
Considering the elevated political nature of Illinois Politics, we have little faith there will be a single Democrat that votes to find these violations were done knowingly, thus no fine would be assessed.
For those that did not read the story we broke on this over five years ago, Mautino and his campaign spent $213,338.31 on fuel and repairs of multiple vehicles not owned by his campaign. As this case moved through the court we note that there was no mention of the $273,927.77 spent through the local bank in what appeared to be a one-stop-shop for all things political. We covered those expenditures in this article.
Today's ruling did outline an interesting point.
"Relevant here, when ordered to amend its reports to identify the specific purpose of any expenditures made to Spring Valley City Bank, the Committee refused."
So how do you get away with spending $273,927.77 of campaign money? Simple, refuse to amend the reports to show the truth.
Of interest is the fact to date the US Attorney has not indicted Mautino for his actions yet other state political figures have been indicted for similar campaign expenditure violations. Early on in the Federal Investigation, it was disclosed that Mautino was cooperating with the US Attorney. It was also confirmed that if he was subpoenaed he would invoke his 5th amendment right.
Frank Mautino is still the Illinois Auditor General and even though a resolution for his removal was filed, the General Assembly has yet to bring it to the floor for a vote.
Considering Mautino is supposed to be the State's Watchdog and has refused to amend his campaign records to identify close to $300,000.00 of expenditures, it's time for him to resign.
Welcome to Illinois!