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State Board of Elections probing Mautino campaign

Monday, Feb 29, 2016

* Bruce Rushton

The Illinois State Board of Elections is reviewing campaign finance reports filed by auditor general Frank Mautino while he was in the General Assembly.

The board probe was sparked by a complaint filed by Dave Cooke, a retired nuclear plant worker who lives in Streator. Cooke says that he filed his complaint earlier this month after reading media reports about campaign spending by Mautino, who reported spending more than $200,000 at a single service station, Happy’s Super Service, in less than 11 years for gas and car repairs while he was a state representative.

Many payments were made in round figures of $1,000 or more. Disclosure reports also show more than $250,000 paid to Spring Valley City Bank for poll watchers, parking, gasoline, travel expenses and other purposes that have nothing to do with banking. Most of the bank payments were in round figures, with the bank often receiving between $100 and $300 for purposes typically described as “Chicago meeting” sometimes accompanied by the words “gas” or “parking.”

Records also show that Patty Maunu, Mautino’s campaign treasurer, received $23,800 in a series of 16 payments, all in round figures, since 2013 for meeting expenses, without any details on how the money was spent aside from notations that no one vendor got more than $150. If a campaign gives more than $150 to an individual or entity in a quarterly reporting period, the name and address of the recipient must be disclosed.

“This is a gentleman who’s the auditor general of Illinois who’s going to be looking at accounting issues,” said Cooke, a Republican who once served on his local school board. “Frank’s been in office for 25 years. He didn’t know how to do this (file proper disclosure reports)? I don’t believe any of that. … He shouldn’t be just throwing money down the toilet and giving it to whoever.”

Tom Newman, director of the division of campaign disclosure at the State Board of Elections, said that he isn’t at liberty to discuss details of the board’s review.

“Based on the reporting that’s been done, you can guess the content of the complaint,” Newman said.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - Almost the Weekend - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 9:55 am:

    I’m really surprised how quiet the Mautino camp has been about these lingering issues. It’s as if they locked themselves in the house waiting for the storm to pass. Turns out it was a tornado and the pieces need to be picked up and put back together.


  2. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:00 am:

    It must be Rauners fault.


  3. - Niblets - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    Good bad or otherwise, looks to me like Mautino is gonna go down.


  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:05 am:

    Just how equipped is SBOE to do any real deep dive into this complaint?


  5. - Team Sleep - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:07 am:

    The State Board needs to have 9 members - not 8. This could too easily lead to yet another 4-4 “decision” - a scenario in which no one wins.

    Almost - good analogy. The man has ample campaign and personal funds to hire a competent CPA and/or legal team but seems to be sitting on his hands (or laurels).


  6. - cdog - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:10 am:

    When do we start advertising for a real CPA, CGAP, CIA?

    (Or whatever the “abbreviation de jour” is that signifies a brilliant career and life effort in government auditing and tax payer representation.)

    (Certified Government Auditor Professional, Certified Internal Auditor)


  7. - Anonymous - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:13 am:

    Frank may be a wonderful guy, but that has zero to do with competence, honesty, ethics. A thorough report may show the faults were small and understandable, but I’d bet against that based on what we see/hear up to now.


  8. - cdog - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:21 am:

    If he has SOURCE DOCUMENTS, such as invoices that are all nicely stapled together, which show he has rounded down to the nearest hundred or thousand dollar, he will be ok.


  9. - Free Roddy B - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:27 am:

    ==Frank may be a wonderful guy, but that has zero to do with competence, honesty, ethics. ==
    Aren’t wonderful guys usually competent, honest, and ethical?


  10. - Archiesmom - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:32 am:

    I’ve been a treasurer for multiple state officials and both state and federal campaigns. You will never see anything like that in my records. A lot of round numbers and vague descriptions either indicate incredibly sloppy, casual or careless recordkeeping or something wrong.


  11. - Archiesmom - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:39 am:

    Those payments to the bank may be the be equivalent of making out the check to cash. But that is still one heck of a lot of money just to be handed out with no record of who received it. In the past I’ve made cash withdrawals for election day workers and expenses, and I have not always had the best records for payouts, but my total amounts were minuscule compared to what he’s paid out over the years. And in light of this, no money leaves my accounts now without a receipt or a name attached to it, no matter how small.


  12. - Michael Westen - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:53 am:

    It must be Madigan’s fault.


  13. - Team Sleep - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 10:59 am:

    Archiesmom - thanks for sharing, and this is one of the things I love about this site: people sharing insight, perspective and experiences.


  14. - jim - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 11:49 am:

    Great guy that he is, Frank won’t explain because he can’t explain — at least not truthfully. If he doesn’t already have one, he needs a lawyer.
    by the way, does the legislative inspector general have any authority to look into this? we need another toothless watchdog to get involved.


  15. - Mama - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 11:50 am:

    Maybe State Board of Elections should change the law on how campaign money should be used. If one could only use campaign money to pay actual expenses, and have campaign funds/expenses audited annually there should be no problems.


  16. - Mama - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 11:54 am:

    Actual expenses = a written documentation of the reimbursed expenses. No written documentation no payment.


  17. - titan - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 12:10 pm:

    Mama @ 11/:50
    The State Board of Elections doesn’t enact or change laws, it just implements what the General Assembly passes. Fully auditing all of the filings would require a lot of extra staff on their part and would require all the committees to submit a whole lot more documentation than they do now.

    The current level of documentation is the General Assembly’s current “happy medium” of getting enough information to let those looking at these things see when something looks amiss so as to raise questions and generate complaints.


  18. - Archiesmom - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 12:24 pm:

    Titan is exactly right. And if you are audited by either the state or federal tax folks, or the board of elections, you need to be prepared to promptly produce the backup for all of those entries on your D2. If this committee had appropriate backup, they would’ve produced it already.


  19. - Bruce Rushton - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 12:57 pm:

    ==does the legislative inspector general have any authority to look into this? we need another toothless watchdog to get involved.==

    There is no legislative inspector general. At last check, the position has been vacant since Jan. 1, 2015.


  20. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 12:58 pm:

    Someone may need to audit the auditor.


  21. - anonmynutz - Monday, Feb 29, 16 @ 11:31 pm:

    funny how the whole state is bleeding money from the yes from public monies yet no one steps up to correct the corruption. instead lets focus all our time and energy on campaign funds. funds given to him by supporters. and good thing a republican from streator is running for frank’s old seat. and get his letter read and actions forwarded into the investigation. i reported numerous counts of fraud, tax fraud, and other various violations to state agencies for almost 7 years. guess how many got investigated? 0. still have the emails from all the higher ups in illilnos politics that i communicated with. even contacted news outlets to report these very things. still see it go on every day yet no one cares about it. they instead play the political card trying to oust frank. this state. SMFH!


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