* Illinois Leaks took a look at Auditor General Frank Mautino’s campaign finance reports from when he was a legislator and found something that at least on the surface looks pretty odd. Over an approximately ten-year period, then-Rep. Mautino spent over $200,000 on gas and (mostly) car repairs at the same gas station in his home town of Spring Valley…
Mautino spent $213,338.31 on fuel and repairs for his campaign vehicle between March of 2005 and December 2015. Even more if you go back a few more years. His campaign itemized expenditure reporting indicates $20,914.20 of the $213 thousand was used specifically for gas purchases during that same time frame, all at the same gas station, Happy’s Super Service Station.
Using the very figures from his itemized expenditures covering ten years and nine months, Mautino’s expenditures average approximately $54.42 of campaign money every day during that time frame for gas and repairs to his campaign vehicle.
There’s a whole lot of hyperbole and speculation in the piece. And $21K over more than ten years on gas is about five bucks a day. But over $20K a year in car repairs?
So, I checked with Mautino, who said that it wasn’t just one car, but several which received repairs and gas.
They weren’t necessarily his cars, Mautino said, but were owned by people who did campaign work.
* But then there’s this…
Out of 387 itemized entries in the time frame referenced, 35% of them were whole numbers. Most accountant’s would look at that as entries that deserve more attention. Having been a mechanic my whole life as well as an FAA licensed Air-frame & Power plant mechanic, I have seen my share of repair bills and let’s just say I have rarely seen any that were round numbers like those we see in the itemized listings. I found 137 such entries out of 387 since March of 2005. I would bet if every one of our readers were to go back and look at their own repair bills there would be fewer than 1% that could find one that was a perfectly round number.
3/29/2005 – $1,200.00
4/11/2005 – $300.00
6/13/2005 – $1,500.00
4/13/2007 – $1,200.00
6/12/2007 – $1,200.00
1/18/2008 – $1,100.00
2/08/2008 – $1,000.00
6/16/2008 – $3000.00
9/11/2008 – $2,100.00
2/26/2009 – $851.00
3/24/2009 – $600.00
5/08/2009 – $1500.00
6/16/2009 – $800.00
10/06/2009 – $1,000.00
12/03/2009 – $925.00
2/10/2010 – $1,500.00
Mautino said over the weekend that he was putting some info together, but I haven’t heard back. This is a small town shop, so maybe they were just sloppy.
I’ve known Frank Mautino since the day he got to town, and I don’t even want to think about the possibility that something might be hinky. But, he really should get in front of this sooner rather than later.
…Adding… Illinois Times…
Susan Garrett, a former Democratic state senator and representative who now chairs the board of directors for the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, said that both an investigation and an explanation from Mautino is in order.
“I think there needs to be an investigation,” Garrett said. “I think that Mr. Mautino needs to explain to the public how his campaign funds have been spent. … He needs to explain this, especially because of his new position as auditor general of Illinois. The highest ethical standards are required to hold that position.”
It’s not clear who would conduct an investigation. The General Assembly is supposed to have an inspector general tasked with investigating allegations of wrongdoing by legislators, but that position has been vacant for more than a year.
“Unfortunately, there isn’t anybody who can conduct, as far as I know, right now, because of the vacancy, there’s nobody who can conduct the type of investigation that needs to be done,” Garrett said. “What can easily happen is, Mr. Mautino can come forward and answer some of these questions.”