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.