Elections board votes to fine Mautino’s defunct campaign fund $5,000

May 15, 2017

The Illinois State Board of Elections on Monday voted to slap Auditor General Frank Mautino’s now-inactive campaign fund with a $5,000 fine after he refused to provide documentation clarifying irregular spending during his time as a member of the House.

While the board voted 6-2 to impose the maximum fine on the top financial watchdog’s old campaign fund, a motion that would have referred the case to the Illinois Attorney General and the LaSalle County state’s attorney’s office failed to pass on a 4-4 party-line split.

From the Chicago Tribune:

William McGuffage voted against fining Mautino, contending the board should not take any action while a federal investigation is ongoing because it may be detrimental to that case.

“I think we should just stop this right now,” said McGuffage. He added the board was “spinning its wheels” because the only person who could answer many of their questions is Mautino.

Member Andrew Carruthers said the federal investigation is a separate matter that should not interfere with the board’s work.

“If we don’t look at violations of the election code, who else will?” Carruthers said.

The Spring Valley Democrat, however, won’t be required to pay the fine himself. And because his campaign account no longer exists, it can’t be used to pay the penalty. Mautino’s committee was closed on Dec. 31, 2015, after the Democratic-controlled General Assembly in October of that year appointed him to a decade-long term as auditor general.

More from the Associated Press:

Mautino attorney Anthony Jacob says the Mautino campaign account has been closed for a year and there’s no one to turn over records.

David Cooke of Streator brought the complaint. His attorney says the board should do more and no one will ever pay the fine because the committee’s closed.

Board members suggested Cooke urge action by criminal prosecutors.

For more than a year, GOP lawmakers and election board officials have been calling on Mautino to clarify some $500,000 in questionable campaign spending, including more than $200,000 spent over an 11-year period on gas and vehicle repairs at a Spring Valley service station owned by a city alderman.

Over the course of 17 years, Mautino also made $94,000 in repayments to the Spring Valley City Bank on a $26,000 loan, and paid the bank $180,000 for campaign-related expenses, such as for poll workers and precinct walkers, despite there being no reason for the bank to be involved in political campaigns.

At a hearing last month, the elections board officially announced Mautino had violated its orders to provide amending paperwork for his campaign finance disclosure reports, which led to Monday’s vote.

Mautino, who also is under federal investigation, has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and did not testify at Monday’s hearing.

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