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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Auditor Fined $5,000 Over Campaign Reports Filed As House Member


The Illinois State Board of Elections is fining Auditor General Frank Mautino’s former campaign committee over a complaint that he failed to properly report some $380,000 in spending.

Mautino’s current job is to review the spending of state agencies; election officials have been trying to review Mautino’s own campaign spending for his years as an Illinois State Representative.

Campaign reports show hundreds of thousands of dollars going to a single gas station — without explaining what the money paid for.

Officials have not ruled that Mautino broke the law. Instead, the $5,000 fine is for failing to submit more detailed campaign documents. Last year, Mautino’s committee argued it needed more time to show the money was indeed accounted for, but it never turned over more-detailed documentation.

The complaint has been helped along by attorney Jeffrey Schwab of the conservative Liberty Justice Center, who says the fine most likely will never be paid.

“Mr. Mautino would not be legally obligated to pay it,” Schwab said. “The only way the fine would ever get paid is if Mr. Mautino reopens his committee to run for office again.”

The allegations cover spending $225,000 at a gas station over the course of 16 years, and failing to show how he spent an additional $159,000.?

The complaint was filed by David Cooke, who lives in Mautino’s former legislative district. He says the board isn’t doing its job.

“All they were interested in doing is getting the records corrected,” Cooke said, “not looking at motive, and why Frank did this, why Frank did that — that’s my question.”

Election officials say Mautino’s campaign spending has been under federal investigation, but prosecutors in central Illinois declined to confirm or deny that. Reached Monday, neither prosecutors nor Mautino would comment.

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