A group of Illinois lawmakers began in February formally requesting that Auditor General Frank Mautino work expeditiously to answer serious questions about campaign expenditures and reporting procedures dating back to his time in the House of Representatives.
More than three months later, lawmakers stressed that Mautino’s foot-dragging needs to stop.[Pictured above at the State Capitol press conference May 5 are (from left to right) Senator Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), Senator Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods), Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville), Representative Margo McDermed (R-Mokena) and Representative Keith Wheeler (R-North Aurora).]
“Our first letter to Auditor General Mautino was sent on Feb. 1. He requested a bit more time, to which we willingly agreed. At the end of February, he told us we could expect an answer within weeks. But now we’re in the month of May, and these questions are still festering because he simply won’t address them,” said Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville). “If there’s nothing improper, as he asserts, then why won’t he simply answer the questions so he and we can put this issue behind us?”
Senator Jim Oberweis had raised concerns in February when the Ottawa Times and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald newspapers wrote about questions surrounding campaign account transactions when Mautino served as a State Representative.
“The Times reported that the State Board of Elections was seeking clarification from then-Representative Frank Mautino about $259,000 he paid to a Spring Valley bank since 1999. A Daily Herald editorial was also calling for some answers. A letter was sent to Auditor General Mautino asking for timely answers to the questions that were raised,” Senator Oberweis said. “I was the only member of the Legislative Audit Commission to vote against recommending then-Representative Mautino’s appointment to the Auditor General position, even though we all knew the ‘Illinois fix’ was in for Madigan’s guy. We had interviewed another very highly qualified candidate for the position who I believed should have been recommended as well.”
A group of 12 legislators from the House sent the initial request to Auditor General Mautino on February 1, asking for a written reply within 10 days. Mautino replied on February 9 that he needed more time to properly address the request. To accommodate the Auditor General, the lawmakers on February 11 extended their request deadline to February 25. Mautino replied that he had retained a legal firm to assist him and would be working “…during the next few weeks in order to respond to your letter.” The lawmakers released the correspondence May 5, stressing their growing frustration with the continued delays.
“Now that it’s been more than three months since our first official request for information was sent to Auditor General Mautino concerning the irregularities in his campaign records, I think it’s reasonable he provide some answers. After this much time and multiple requests, he owes it to the residents of Illinois,” said Representative Sheri Jesiel (R-Winthrop Harbor).
Lawmakers also sent Auditor General Mautino a third letter May 5 requesting an immediate resolution to the issue.
“The Auditor General’s office is vital to the review of all state spending and is essential in protecting the taxpayers’ money from waste and abuse,” Representative Wehrli said. “Until Auditor General Mautino provides answers to questions about highly questionable spending and accounting that continue to surround him, I will have no confidence in any audit conducted under his leadership.”