Tag Archives: campaign spending

Michael Madigan And John Cullerton Have Used $3.5 Million In Campaign Funds For Cubs, Bulls, And White Sox Season Tickets

Michael Madigan(D-Chicago)

Michael Madigan(D-Chicago)

With playoff baseball in Chicago and a critical election just around the corner an examination of Illinois Board of Elections campaign reports by USofArn.com shows that the states two most powerful legislative leaders Speaker Michael Madigan(D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton(D-Chicago) have spent a combined $3.5 million from their campaign funds to purchase season tickets for the Chicago Cubs, Bulls, and White Sox dating back to 1999. They are the only two lawmakers to make such purchases according to state records.

Michael Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown told USofArn that the Speaker used some of those  tickets to attend games with his friends and family, which includes his daughter Lisa Madigan the states Attorney General. Despite multiple attempts Mr. Brown hasn’t responded any further to questions family-video-internetabout Speaker Madigan’s campaign spending(Which includes how and why he spent more than $700 at a Springfield Family Video for internet service from 1999-2003 when they’ve never offered that service).

Chicago residents learned earlier in the MLB post season that Chicago politicians were given special access to Cubs playoff tickets as they try to break the teams 108 year World Series curse.

madigan cubs playoffsIn the last decade and a half, using a combination of his Friends of Michael Madigan and 13th Democratic Ward campaign funds Madigan has shelled out $1.25 million for Cubs tickets, including post season tickets in previous years, over madigan-cubs-3q-2016$933,000 for White Sox season tickets, playoff tickets, and all-star game tickets, and another $423,610 for Bulls season tickets. There were also $23,000 in unspecified season ticket purchases by Madigan to the University of Notre Dame, which for the geography challenged is in Indiana, not Illinois. Just in the latest 3rd quarter report Madigan used more than $42,000 in campaign funds to purchase Cubs tickets.

cullerton-soxs-2016John Cullerton, who became President of the Illinois Senate in 2009, used more than $418,000 from his campaign fund for Cubs tickets, over $300,000 for White Sox tickets, and another $178,954 for Bulls tickets from the first quarter of this year going back to 1999.

 

 

reinsdorf-tixCampaign records also show that in the Summer of 2004 Michael Madigan bought nearly $500 worth of White Sox tickets off of team owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who also owns the Chicago Bulls.

Records also show Sen. Cullerton used over $18,000 in campaign funds for unspecified tickets from Stub Hub, plus another $7,000 for more unspecified tickets from other ticket vendors, to go along with nearly $8,000 worth of Chicago Bears tickets and over $10,000 in unnamed event tickets at the United Center.

One Illinois lawmaker who wished anonymity couldn’t stop laughing at how brazen Madigan and Cullerton were with this misuse of campaign funds especially given the ongoing campaign spending scandal involving Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, who spent 24 years in the state legislature as a top Madigan lieutenant. Mautino is under state and federal investigation for half a million dollars in questionable spending at his home town gas station and bank.

It is supposed to be against Illinois campaign spending law(s) for a politician to use their campaign funds for personal gain.

Illinois’ Institutionalized Corruption: How Auditor General Frank Mautino Could Walk For His Misdeeds

Frank Mautino

Frank Mautino

There is corruption and then there is Illinois corruption.

The fine art of Illinois political corruption is and has been on full display the last 9 months with the ongoing campaign spending scandal of Illinois’ new Auditor General Frank Mautino and it is a sickening display that could very well end up with Mautino walking away from his troubles Scott free thanks to the indifference of the states mainstream media, the lack of interest on the part of Republican leadership, the enormous clout and power held by Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, and the handicapping of a state agency or two.

This story begins in 1991 when Frank Mautino first became a state Representative replacing his late father. Frank would go on to serve in the state legislature for the next 24 years rising to the rank of deputy majority leader, the 3rd highest ranking Democrat in the state House. Frank would only resign in late 2015 to take the position of Auditor General at the strong behest and backing of Speaker Michael Madigan.

It was in taking the Auditor General job that Frank Mautino’s problems began because Frank’s last campaign disclosure report was scrutinized by the Springfield based Illinois Times, a weekly newspaper. What the IL Times discovered was Frank taking in large amounts of campaign donations after it was widely known that he was going to get the Auditor General job.  In response to that story Mautino claimed that the donations were to payoff outstanding campaign debts.

Government watchdogs John Kraft and Kirk Allen(Edgar County Watchdogs) found that Mautino’s debt payment claim to be false as campaign disclosure records show that Mautino had paid off all of his campaign debts months prior to the donations he said he solicited for that purpose.

Then the Kraft and Allen went further into Mautino’s campaign expenditure reports and found that in addition to making payments on a loan that totaled nearly 4 times the loan amount, Mautino was also paying a quarter of a million dollars($250,000) to his hometown bank Spring Valley City Bank for such things as campaign workers, poll watchers, and travel to Chicago, things one cannot get from their local bank.

Kraft and Allen also found that Frank Mautino had paid another $250,000 to Happy’s gas station in Spring Valley for gas and car repairs, for what Mautino’s camp has claimed were 3 vehicles, one of which was a newer model car(2012?) and therefore couldn’t have been responsible for the more than $50 a day average Frank was paying out to Happy’s.  Based upon the dollar amounts and number of transactions involved any reasonable person would concluded that Frank was engaging in some type of kickback scheme or money laundering at Happy’s. Note, of the multiple gas stations in Spring Valley, and the dozens of them in his district Mautino only spent money on gas at Happy’s, which turns out is owned by one Fred West, a longtime Mautino campaign ally and currently a member of the Spring Valley city council, a city that has gotten large chunks of state spending thanks to Mautino’s long tenure as a top Lieutenant to Speaker Madigan.

Further investigation of Mautino’s campaign spending records dating back to 1999 by local reporter David Giuliani of the Ottawa Times, and myself found that Frank had used $78,000 of his campaign funds over a 10 year period on food at 4 Spring Valley restaurants, the bulk of the money spent was at the restaurant owned by the family of Frank’s wife.  Mautino also somehow managed to pay a waste management company more than the company charges for dumpster rental, a dumpster Frank doesn’t seem to have had any need for.  Mautino also used campaign funds to pay a couple of his regular campaign workers an additional $35,000(combined) to do repairs and other work on his “office” and he paid-out nearly $8,000 for US and Illinois flags from a place called Flag World in Springfield.

Whatsmore it has also been learned that after he got the Auditor Generals job Mautino asked retiring Auditor General William Holland to create a brand new chief of staff position in the Auditor’s office and the only candidate for that position would be Frank’s friend and neighbor Dean Devert, who’d move over from the Illinois Department of Transportation and take the new $121,000 a year job. This patronage deal also included getting one of Mautino’s former campaign staffers to be his new secretary at the Auditor Generals office.

All of these questions, coming in rapid succession, prompted a group of 20 or so Republican lawmakers led by Naperville Rep. Grant Wehrli and Wheaton Rep. Jeanne Ives to press Mautino for answers in February.   When Mautino, his lawyers, and PR firm continued to refuse to answer any questions from lawmakers or the press this Summer they filed a bill that would force Mautino out as Auditor General.

The impetus for that being the revelation in May that the US attorney’s office in Springfield had launched a criminal grand jury investigation into Frank Mautino for his campaign spending practices. In addition to the federal investigation the state Board of Elections is also probing Mautino’s campaign spending. However, that Board of Elections inquest comes with this tiny wrinkle; the Illinois Board of Elections hasn’t had an investigator to look into possible wrongdoing by lawmakers and campaign committees for at least 10 years.  For those 10 years Speaker Michael Madigan and the Democrats have controlled state government, including the budget process, a process Frank Mautino was a central figure in as a state Rep.

Now this is where Illinois’ synergy of corruption comes into play.

Aside from running wire service stories coinciding with the announcement of the federal probe virtually no Illinois based newspaper or TV station has covered Frank Mautino’s scandal at all, let alone in any detail. Unless you read the Illinois Times, Ottawa Times, or follow the Edgar County Watchdogs blog or mine you wouldn’t know the state of Illinois has an Auditor General, let alone one that is mired in scandal, or tied to the hip to Michael Madigan. At one point the Chicago Tribune tried to sweep this whole thing under the rug.

With no great media pressure on state lawmakers to do something about the clear impropriety of Frank Mautino continuing on as Auditor General, the states top financial watchdog, those 20 or so Republican lawmakers, half of whom were the only ones to vote against Mautino being Auditor General in the first place, haven’t gotten any support from GOP leadership including Senate minority leader Christine Radogno, House minority leader Jim Durkin, or Gov. Bruce Rauner nor have they gotten much support from Mautino’s fellow Democrats in the state legislature as most only want him to answer questions and nothing more.

The best Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner could muster was saying that the federal and state investigations should be allowed to play themselves out.

Playing itself out to Speaker Michael Madigan, who gave Frank Mautino the Auditor General job in the first place, is that Mautino will be vindicated and that he will stay on as Auditor, as he told NPR last month.  The Auditor Generals position comes with a 10 year term.

Playing itself out also means that come January 1st of next year Frank Mautino will be able to increase his state pension by about $60,000 a year as it will be based off of the $157,000 Auditor General’s salary instead of the much lower pay for state Representatives, giving him a pension of around $133,000 a year. Illinois has a pension debt of over $100 billion.

Playing itself out also means that if Frank Mautino’s lawyer, from a Madigan allied law firm, Anthony Jacob, gets his way the Board of Elections inquiry will be put on indefinite hold until the federal investigation is over because answering any Board of Elections question would violate Frank’s 5th amendment right against self-incrimination.

Playing itself out means that the Attorney General’s office under the leadership of Lisa Madigan,  will once again let a case of public corruption go uninvestigated and unprosecuted.

Playing itself out also means putting all our hopes of seeing Frank Mautino brought to justice hinge on a Justice Department that has become politicized in favor of the Democrats and Hillary Clinton specifically and wouldn’t you know Michael Madigan is the chairman of the Illinois Democrat Party and a superdelegate, his wife Shirley was a Clinton delegate at the convention in Philly, and daughter Lisa(the Attorney General) was a staunch Clinton supporter during the run up to the Illinois primary in March. Hillary Clinton you may remember was born and raised in Chicagoland, she’s running for President of the United States.

All of this adds up to the institutionalization of corruption and a very high probability that Frank Mautino will retire early next year with a huge taxpayer financed pension and face nothing but a slap on the wrist for making a mockery of campaign finance and disclosure laws and spending a year stonewalling lawmakers and the press.

There is corruption and then there is Illinois corruption.

 

Dems Rep. Skoog And Sen. Cand. Benson Want Mautino Investigation To Play Out Before They Call For His Ouster

Andy Skoog

Andy Skoog

Democrat state Rep. Andy Skoog, who was appointed to fill out the unexpired term of Frank Mautino, when he became the states Auditor General at the start of the year, and Democrat Senate candidate Christine Benson both told the Ottawa Times that they want to see an investigation by the state Board of Elections and by federal prosecutors to play out before either of them join the growing chorus demanding that Mautino resign following his nearly 7 months of silence on his campaign spending scandal.

Just days into his new job of Auditor General, examinations of his campaign spending records from his 24 years as a state Rep. and top Lt. to Speaker Michael Madigan, by the Illinois Times, Ottawa Times, Edgar County Watchdogs, and USofArn.com showed Mautino to have made numerous questionable expenditures over the years. Mautino spent nearly $250,000 in gas and repairs at Happy’s Service Station in his hometown of Spring Valley(Mautino spent some $284,000 in total on car repairs and gas) and another $250,000 in spending for items like poll watchers and travel to Chicago at Spring Valley City Bank, things you can’t exactly get from any bank, anywhere.

It was also revealed that Mautino spent some $74,000 on meals, the bulk of that at a restaurant owned by his wife’s family. Mautino also used campaign funds to buy $8,000 worth of flags, and paid his campaign workers tens of thousands of dollars to do maintenance on his office.

Mautino also somehow managed to overpay for a dumpster.

In recent days nearly 20 Republican lawmakers have filed a resolution in the House seeking to remove Mautino from office, the Auditor Generals post comes with a 10 year term.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has told the Chicago Tribune that he’d like to see the state and federal investigations play out before he joined in with those calling for Mautino to resign.

Open The Books founder Adam Andrzejewski was the first person to call on Mautino to resign, in the frist weeks of the scandal. State Rep. Jeanne Ives, who was one of 11 lawmakers to oppose Mautino being named Auditor General, was the first lawmaker to call for his ouster some 2-3 months ago.

Since the scandal broke in January, Mautino has refused to answer any questions from the media, or from lawmakers.

Skoog and Benson told the Ottawa Times:

In an email, Skoog agreed with Rauner’s statement.

“As I have said from the beginning, if any wrongdoing occurred in this situation, I will do what is necessary to ensure accountability and that the law prevails,” Skoog said.

Benson said in a emailed statement: “While I don’t agree with Gov. Rauner on many things, I agree with the statement he made a few days ago regarding Auditor General Mautino’s situation — which was to allow the Board of Elections and the U.S. attorney to do their jobs prior to calling for any action.”

Skoog’s opponent Jerry Long, who nearly defeated Mautino in 2014, has embraced the resolution calling on Mautino to be removed from office, and Sen. Sue Rezin(Benson’s opponent) is among those calling on Mautino to resign.

Frank Mautino’s Newest legal Problem

Frank Mautino

Frank Mautino

Leave it to the Edgar County Watchdogs to find yet another reason for embattled Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino to find more high-priced Chicago lawyers.

Not only is the state’s top fiscal watchdog under federal investigation over campaign spending irregularities, uncovered in no small part thanks to the EcW’s, Frank now has to worry about spending up to a year in jail because he can’t remember where he worked for the last 24 years.

The Watchdogs have found that Frank did some fibbing on his Statement of Economic Interest, a disclosure form meant to highlight any possible conflicts of interest or financial ties, relating to his job as Auditor General.

Question #7 on the form ask about employment with units of government within the past year. Mautino answered none(as he did to all questions on the form).

Bit of a problem there Frank, you where state Representative, and employee of the state of Illinois and General Assembly, until December of last year(the SEI form was filed in March of this year).

Mautino had served in the state legislature representing Bureau and LaSalle counties(and surrounding areas) since 1991 when he took over as a state Rep. for his late father. During those 24 years Mautino was a top Lt. to Speaker Michael Madigan, who in turn gave Mautino the Auditor Generals job, which comes with a 10 year term and a nearly $50,000 a year spike in Mautino’s state pension should he finish out 2016 as Auditor General.

Illinois statue says that to knowingly providing false information on the SEI form, is a crime punishable with up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Enjoy prison Frank, seems you were meant for it.

 

21 Lawmakers Ask Frank Mautino To Resign as Auditor General

Frank Mautino

Frank Mautino

On Sunday 21 Republican state Representatives and Senators wrote an op-ed calling on embattled Auditor General Frank Mautino to resign.

Mautino, who spent 24 years as a state Rep. from Spring Valley and a top Lt. to Speaker Michael Madigan, is under a federal investigation over his campaign spending which reports from the Edgar County Watchdogs, the Ottawa Times, Illinois Times, and USofArn.com have shown include him making nearly $250,000 in payments to Happy’s gas station in Spring Valley for gas and repairs, and another $250,000 in questionable spending at Spring Valley City Bank.

Mautino has a Monday deadline to answer some questions to the state Board of Elections.

The state lawmakers in their op-ed wrote:

Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, the top financial watchdog of the state, remains under federal investigation for highly irregular activities in his campaign account from his days as a State Representative. Given his patent refusal to answer even the most basic questions from his employer, the General Assembly, and the legal and ethical cloud under which he persists, it is time for Frank Mautino to resign.

Just days after having been appointed by the General Assembly to a 10-year term as Auditor General and being sworn in to his new office, a series of questionable transactions from Mr. Mautino’s campaign account were discovered. Among these were over $200,000 spent on gas and vehicle repairs at one vendor and $94,000 in repayments to a bank on a $26,000 loan.

Nearly six months later and after multiple inquiries by Members of the General Assembly, there has been no plausible justification offered for the questionable expenses. In addition to Mr. Mautino providing no answers to our questions, we find out that he is now under Federal investigation.

Initially, Mr. Mautino said he would provide answers soon saying, “No one wants to clear up this matter more quickly than I do.” After saying in February that he expected to have answers in a “few weeks,” further inquiries were met with silence. In response to the last letter from Members of the General Assembly, Mr. Mautino’s attorney requested a “Motion to Stay” because he is under “federal investigation” and has preserved “his Fifth Amendment right” against self-incrimination.

That’s right. The Auditor General, responsible for oversight of state spending, is under federal investigation for irregular financial matters and doesn’t feel it necessary to answer questions from his employer, the General Assembly.

According to the Illinois Constitution, the job of the Auditor General is to audit the State’s funds, perform additional investigations as directed by the General Assembly, and report his findings and recommendations to both the General Assembly and the Governor.

At best, Mr. Mautino’s actions in his campaign fund were sloppy bookkeeping. At worst, they’re criminal. Neither is acceptable for the state’s constitutional officer charged with watching over the state’s finances.

Given the level of corruption the state of Illinois has endured over the years, our citizens at the very least deserve the peace of mind knowing those tasked with policing our unusually corrupt bureaucracy are above reproach. Unfortunately, the situation we have here does not live up to that promise. Our former colleague needs to do the right thing and resign.

Some two months ago state Rep. Jeanne Ives called on Mautino to resign, she has finally been joined by the other 20 Republican state lawmakers who have been demanding answers from Mautino.

The others asking for Mautino to resign are: Rep.Steve Andersson,Rep. Mark Batinick, Rep.Tom Bennett, Rep.Avery Bourne, Rep.Peter Breen, Rep.Terri Bryant, Rep.Tim Butler, Rep.Randy Frese, Rep.Jeanne Ives, Rep.Sheri Jesiel, Rep.Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, Rep.Dwight Kay, Rep.Margo McDermed, Rep.Tom Morrison, Rep.Ron Sandack, Rep.Grant Wherli, Rep.Keith Wheeler, Sen. Tim Bivins, Sen. Kyle McCarter, Sen.Dan McConchie, and Sen. Jim Oberweis

Michael And Lisa Madigan Tied To Rep. Bobby Rush Campaign Spending Scandal

Michael Madigan(D-Chicago)

Michael Madigan(D-Chicago)

On Friday the Washington Free Beacon reported on campaign spending problems with Illinois Democrat congressman Bobby Rush.

According to campaign reports the Free Beacon examined Rush paid his wife $550,000 since 2002 with campaign funds, his single largest expense.  The Free Beacon also found that Rush put campaign money towards his own Beloved Community Christian Church in Chicago where he is a Pastor and the founder.  That church has two charity groups associated with it which have gotten some $14 million in federal grants and other funding between 2008 and 2014.

A review of Illinois campaign expenditure reports by USofArn.com have found that Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and his daughter Attorney General Lisa Madigan have both given money to Rush’s church.

from IL Board of Elections

from IL Board of Elections

Illinois Board of Elections records show Michael Madigan made at least two contributions of $1,000 each in 2003 and 2004 to Beloved Community Christian Church from his Friends of Michael J. Madigan campaign committee. Records also show Lisa Madigan making at least one payment to the church from her Citizens for Lisa Madigan campaign committee in 2004.

Congressman Rush started the Church in 2002.

This latest bit of corruption among Illinois politicians follows on the heels of reports showing Illinois Democrat congressman Luis Gutierrez also paying his wife hundreds of thousands of dollars out of campaign funds. Former Republican congressman Aaron Schock is still under a federal investigation relating to his Downton Abbey style decor of his DC office. Former Democrat congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has recently done a prison stint for using campaign funds for personal use.  And Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, and top Lt. to Speaker Madigan remains the subject of a federal grand jury investigation into his campaign spending. Mautino is supposed to respond to Board of Elections inquiries into his spending at Spring Valley City Bank and at his hometown gas station totaling over $250,000, a station owned by a friend and campaign supporter who is now a city alderman, by Monday.

 

What Is State Rep. Litesa Wallace Doing Paying $1100 For An LA Photographer And Paying Nearly $300 To A Bus Company For A Cell Phone

Rep. Litesa Wallace

Rep. Litesa Wallace

After veteran Rockford Democrat state Rep. Chuck Jefferson resigned in the Summer of 2014 his chief of staff Litesa Wallace was appointed to replace him in the state legislature, where she has remained.

An examination of her scant quarterly campaign spending expenditure reports with the Illinois Board of Elections is raising some questions.

State records show that in December of last year Wallace paid Los Angeles, California photographer and music video director Piper Ferguson $1,100 for photos. Records also show Wallace using campaign funds for $226.57 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in LA and $253.09 for airfare with Spirit Airlines for a conference. It is most likely that Wallace was in LA to attend the National Black Caucus of State Legislators conference, Wallace is a member of that organization.

Rep. Wallace has not responded to questions from USofArn.com about that conference and other questions pertaining to other items from her expenditure reports.

from IL Board of Elections

from IL Board of Elections

While paying four figures to a photographer out of state is one thing, it is an entirely different thing to spend $285.35 for a cell phone from a company that DOESN’T SELL PHONES.

In December of 2014 Wallace paid that $285.35 to Rockford Charter, a charter bus company, for what is listed on campaign records as a cell phone.  Rockford Charter’s website list no cell phone or other cellular services that it offers; just charter buses that have wi-fi and restrooms.

Wallace made another payment to Rockford Charter in October of 2014 for $845 to provide transportation to a campaign rally in Chicago with Gov. Pat Quinn during his reelection campaign. That Chicago campaign event was also attended by First Lady Michelle Obama. During the course of this trip Wallace and those she bused in to Chicago to cheer on Quinn, Michelle, and Sen. Dick Durbin, stopped at the Beef-A-Roo off of East State St. where the purchased $306.07 for some of the best food in Rockford.

from IL Board of Elections

from IL Board of Elections

Speaking of food it appears Rep. Wallace paid back her old boss Chuck Jefferson in the form of $600.00 to “cater” a holiday party in December of 2014. Charles “Chuck” Jefferson listed 1731 Montague as his residence with the state this $600 payment to him from Wallace was listed as 1732 Montague. So why is Litesa paying her old boss for something, that could be provided by a hundred other people and businesses across Rockford(which is Illinois’ 3rd largest city)?

Again Wallace did not respond to questions from USofArn.com before publication deadline.

That Rep. Wallace has spent any money related to campaigning is rather peculiar given that she has not yet face either a Democrat primary opponent or faced a Republican in any general election.

With congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. having just finished up a prison sentence, congressman Aaron Schock likely to join him, and former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert reporting to prison this week, on top of the ongoing federal probe of Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino you would think Illinois politicians would get the message that they had better keep their noses clean.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez is now in trouble for giving his wife and daughters over $300,000 out of campaign funds. congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is in trouble for breaking House ethics rules fundraising during the Dems gun control sit-in, and now Litesa Wallace has some explaining to do herself.

Example #54,323 Why Illinois Is The Most Corrupt State: Rep. Luis Gutierrez Paid Family Over $300K

Rep. Luis Gutierrez

Rep. Luis Gutierrez

Big old hat tip to the Washington Free Beacon for digging into Illinois Democrat congressman Luis Gutierrez’s campaign spending reports and finding yet another example of Illinois’ legendary corruption.

The WFB found that Gutierrez, whose been in Congress since 1993, has paid his wife and children over $300,000 since 2010.

Soraida Gutierrez, who ran her husbands campaign committee after serving years as a lobbyist, was paid $44,000 in 2010, $93,000 in 2012, and $110,00 in 2014. In each of those campaigns she was her husbands single largest expenditure, and often accounted for a quarter of the campaigns total expenditures and so far has been paid $65,000 for this year.

The Gutierrez’s two daughters also were paid several thousand dollars in recent years out of campaign funds.

Former Illinois Democrat congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has done prison time for misusing tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds for among other things jewelry. Former Republican congressman Aaron Schock is facing a possible indictment for his misspending of campaign and office funds centered around his Downton Abbey remodel of his DC office. And the states new Democrat Auditor General Frank Mautino is under federal investigation for a whole host of spending issues related to his campaign spending during 24 years in the state legislature as a top Lt. to Speaker of the House Michael Madigan.

Exposing and prosecuting corruption in Illinois is a full time job.

 

Frank Mautino Pleading The 5th, So Yes Chicago Tribune He Is Facing Serious Criminal Charges

Frank Mautino

Frank Mautino

Late Wednesday night the Chicago Tribune published an editorial concerning the ongoing federal investigation into Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino’s campaign spending scandal. In the editorial the Tribune urged Mautino to come clean about the many problems he is facing over how he spent well over half a million dollars in campaign funds during his 24 years as a state Representative and top Lieutenant to Speaker Michael Madigan.

Then the Tribune went and stepped in it saying that no one has suggested that Mautino is facing serious criminal charges:

Let us stress that Mautino has not been accused of any wrongdoing. The federal investigation could fizzle. It happens.

Well the Tribune should have paid more attention to the work those of us who have been on this Mautino scandal since the beginning(that would be myself, David Giuliani of the Ottawa Times, The Edgar County Watchdogs, Adam Andrzejewski of Open The Books, and the Illinois Times) have been writing.

It was the Edgar County Watchdogs who have suggested from the beginning that Mautino’s nearly $250,000 in gas and repairs at Happy’s Service Station in Mautino’s hometown of Spring Valley was a kickback scheme.

Streator native David Cooke, whose complaint to the state Board of Elections about Mautino’s spending at Happy’s and another $250,000 in campaign related payments to Spring Valley City Bank has resulted in Mautino being given until July 1st to amend or otherwise explain his campaign spending, has alleged that Mautino’s spending reeked of criminality(kickback scheme,  money laundering).

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that based upon David Giuliani’s reporting at the Ottawa Times Mautino was using the $78,000 he spent on meals in Spring Valley, nearly half at a restaurant owned by his wife’s family, over a 10 year period was benefiting him and his family personally, something that is illegal under Illinois campaign spending law(s).

Based upon the tens of thousands of dollars Mautino paid to some of his campaign workers for maintenance at his Spring Valley office I fully suspect Mautino was using that money to personally enrich his friends and supports.

And that is a habit of Mautino, helping his friends and supporters, a long-time backer of his was given the newly created job of chief of staff at the Auditor Generals office, a job Mautino created himself while he was still in the state legislature, but well-known to be getting the AG job, with the blessing of retiring AG William Holland. Mautino also brought one of his long-time campaign workers with him to the AG’s office as his secretary.

With so much apparent law skirting taking place is it any surprise that Thursday Giuliani wrote at the Ottawa Times that lawyers representing Mautino have asserted his 5th amendment right to not self-incriminate as part of their request to the state Board of Elections for more time to answer all the questions surrounding Mautino and his spending. Because you know answering those questions now, while the US attorney’s office has an open grand jury investigation against him, would make it all that much more obvious that Mautino has no business being the states top fiscal watchdog.

Frank Mautino, who has stayed publicly silent for months in response to questions about his campaign spending, is now asserting his Fifth Amendment right to remain quiet, according to a statement from his attorney.

Mautino’s attorney is asking the state Board of Elections to give him more time to respond to its requests for information on his spending while a federal investigation continues. Last month, the board ordered Mautino, currently the state’s auditor general, to amend his campaign reports by Friday, July 1.

The Fifth Amendment allows a person to decline to answer questions when the answers may incriminate him. 

The legal counsel for the Board of Elections has recommended that Mautino be given the extra time he’s requesting to come up with some plausible excuse for his transgressions and the Board of Elections will take up the matter on Monday.

So far a bi-partisan group of 22 state lawmakers have called on Mautino to step aside as Auditor General while he is under federal investigation. One from that group Rep. Jeanne Ives has gone farther and has insisted that Mautino resign. Ives was one of ten mostly freshman Republican Rep’s to vote against Mautino being appointed Auditor General last Fall.

In all likelihood Mautino and his lawyers are going to try to push this issue out into next year. Why? Because if Mautino gets a full year in as Auditor General his state pension gets a dramatic increase as his payouts would be based on his approx $150,000 Auditor General salary and not his much lower pay for being a lawmaker.

So Mautino won’t answer questions, whether from the media or lawmakers, and the state will continue to be a laughing-stock as our corruption runs so deep you can walk on it.

Ives Renews Calls For Auditor General Frank Mautino To Resign

Jeanne Ives

Jeanne Ives

Following Democrat state Sen. Laura Murphy Wednesday, and 20 Republican lawmakers Thursday calling on embattled Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino to step aside while he is under federal investigation over his campaign spending Wheaton Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives Thursday renewed her call for Mautino to resign as the states top spending watchdog.

From Ives’ Facebook page:

My colleagues this morning called for Frank Mautino to step aside as he is investigated for campaign finance violations. Yesterday a Democrat made the same call. Stepping aside, could mean him holding the title for years while the investigation goes on. COD investigations are still ongoing 18 months later. The investigation surrounding Aaron Shock continues after over 16 months. The evidence we already know about the lack of accountability of Mautino’s campaign account and his lack of explanation to state representatives is cause enough to ask him to resign. Nearly two months ago, I called for him to resign. Again today, I call for him to resign.

Ives: The Illinois Auditor General Should Resign

In the wake of the confirmation of a federal investigation into financial wrongdoing by Frank Mautino, I once again call on the Illinois Auditor General to resign immediately. Should he fail to do so, the Illinois General Assembly who hired Mautino, should fire him. Yesterday’s call by Democrat State Senator Laura Murphy for Frank Mautino to take a leave of absence is an inadequate response given the importance of his position as the financial watchdog for taxpayers. Asking him to step aside for 2 or 3 years ignores the preponderance of evidence pointing to violations of campaign finance laws.

In a state known for corruption and two of the last three past governors jailed, taxpayers deserve nothing short of a full resignation by Mr. Mautino immediately.