Welter joins legislative calls for Mautino to step down
As the filing deadline came and went at the end of July with nary a whisper from Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino, who failed to provide state election authorities with information regarding his previous campaign spending as a state legislator, the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) now plans to set a public hearing date on the matter.
“The people of Illinois deserve answers immediately," State Rep. David Welter (R-Dist. 75) told the Illinois Valley Times. "I applaud the State Board of Elections' decision to deny yet another attempt to delay the investigation of Frank Mautino, a former top lieutenant of Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Dist. 22)."
The ISBE sought to have the Mautino camp explain questionable spending by his political campaign committee, including the more than $200,000 his House campaign spent over a decade on gas and car repairs at a single service station in his district, among other actions. But Mautino and his lawyer offered no explanations or documentation by the July 25 deadline.
While not formally charged with any wrongdoing, Mautino is under heavy fire in Springfield, where several Illinois lawmakers recently urged that he be removed from office amid state and federal investigations into his questionable campaign spending. Additional questions have arisen about whether Mautino should lose his pension if convicted.
Mautino has acknowledged that there is an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office into his campaign spending and has said that he is cooperating with government officials.
“Only in Illinois would the auditor general, the state’s chief ethics officer, be under investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office for fishy campaign expenditures,” Welter said.
Welter, a Morris resident and Grundy County Board chairman, was unanimously selected by District 75 GOP officials earlier this month to take over as state representative after his predecessor, John Anthony, resigned the seat in mid-June to take a position at the Illinois Department of Corrections.
Welter said he is co-sponsoring House Joint Resolution 158, which calls for Mautino to be immediately removed from office.
The resolution's sponsors said Mautino repeatedly has refused to respond to requests for information sought by legislators in the General Assembly regarding allegations of misappropriation of campaign funds, ethical concerns and potential conflicts of interest.
Mautino also has sought to avoid answering questions from the ISBE while the pending federal criminal investigation proceeds.
“Taxpayers deserve an auditor general beyond reproach who is not the subject of an ongoing federal investigation,” a process that could last for months or years, the text of the resolution said.
Lawmakers also said in the resolution bill that the serious allegations leveled against Mautino demonstrate his inability to conduct his auditor general duties “in an impartial and professional manner.”
“We must always demand that our government is open and honest," Welter said. "Frank Mautino's continued silence on his scandal is telling, as is the silence from my opponent on this issue."
Welter, who is serving out the remainder of Anthony’s term through January, is defending his seat in the November general election against Democrat Martha Shugart.