April 20, 2017
An Illinois State Board of Elections hearing officer is expected to issue a recommendation next month regarding allegations that Auditor General Frank Mautino violated campaign finance disclosure laws during his time as a Democratic state representative.
On Thursday, hours of testimony were heard on the issue of whether Mautino’s now-defunct campaign committee must update spending reports to provide additional details about how money was spent.
The probe comes after a Downstate group known as the Edgar County Watchdogs raised questions about why the fund reported spending more than $247,000 on fuel and car repairs over 16 years, and has since expanded to include a look at $30,000 worth of expenditures to a local bank. The federal government also has launched an investigation, marking a stark turn of events for Mautino, who received overwhelming bipartisan support when lawmakers appointed him to a 10-year term in 2015 as the state’s chief financial watchdog.
Much of the hearing focused on a deposition given earlier by Patricia Maunu, the former treasurer for Mautino’s campaign committee. Jeffrey Schwab, an attorney for the Liberty Justice Center, which is affiliated with the conservative Illinois Policy Institute, cited Maunu’s testimony in which she said the campaign had a credit account at Happy’s Super Service & Food Mart in Spring Valley, where Mautino, campaign workers and some family members frequently stopped for gas.