Ives strengthens push for Mautino ouster
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) reiterated her call for Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino’s resignation in an interview after the State Board of Elections hearing on Mautino’s questionable campaign contribution spending recently.
Speaking to the Edgar County Watchdogs (ECW), a government oversight group that has covered the unfolding scandal, Ives joined Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) in expressing her continued skepticism of Mautino’s ability to hold the state’s top auditing position.
“We’ve been the most vocal, Grant and I,” Ives said. “I called for his resignation over a year ago. We signed on to having him resign by mid-summer. We’ve definitely been trying to hold their feet to the fire.”
Those efforts have not gone unnoticed: Ives and Wehrli were the only two representatives among all 118 to have their campaign reporting brought to the table at the hearing.
“We were a target, there’s no doubt,” Ives said. “…They can come and look at my receipts all day long if they want to; I have all my records.”
While the controversy surrounding Mautino’s campaign stems from donations collected following his appointment to the general auditor position, it has been fueled by a lack of records for some spending.
Mautino was appointed auditor general in October 2015 and officially began his duties on Jan. 1, 2016. That month, reports in the Illinois Times showed that Mautino’s campaign had continued to accept donations between his appointment and his first day on the job, which the campaign explained as necessary to cover office expenses and close up shop.
The ECW found that explanation inadequate and undertook a detailed review of the Mautino Campaign Disclosure Expenditure List, which showed that the campaign had made $200,000 in payments to the Spring Valley City bank over a decade. The campaign said the checks were cashed to cover campaign payments but has not provided any records of those payments.
The Mautino Campaign also paid more than $213,000 between 2005 and 2015 to a local service station for fuel and repair costs. According to Ives, it came out at the hearing that the campaign had paid for 35,000 miles’ worth of fuel – an astounding figure when you consider the circumference of the Earth is 24,000 miles.
“I mean, how do you do that?” Ives asked the ECW. “Anybody who runs a campaign in our districts understands you physically can’t put that type of mileage on in a year. So it’s preposterous, and it’s been done for 16 years in a row. They have no receipts; they have nothing they can show us. They’ve kept no receipts intentionally.”
Ives, who has continued to push for Mautino’s resignation since the story emerged, voiced her support for and gratitude to the Illinois resident who triggered the State Board of Elections investigation that led to the recent hearing.
“I’m thankful for David Cook, who filed the initial complaint,” she said. “Just a common citizen who knew something didn’t seem right and he filed the complaint with the State Board of Elections.”
Ives also expressed gratitude to the Watchdogs and My Web Times reporter David Giuliani for consistently covering the story.
“[…]And I’m thankful for the Liberty Justice Center [getting involved] and, as pro bono work, coming in here and giving David Cook the type of representation that’s necessary when Mautino hires the most high-powered lawyers he can find and a full communications staff to beat this down,” she said.
While Ives saw the hearing as an important step in the state investigation, she placed more of an emphasis on the concurrent federal investigation looking into Mautino’s actions.
“I’m waiting more for the federal investigation to come down,” she said. “I’m glad that this is now at this stage in the hearing process, but it’s not the final action.”