Quad-Cities Republicans question auditor general's campaign spending
The political status quo in Illinois has to change, say Republican state legislative candidates, who recently raised questions about allegations that current Auditor General Frank Mautino misspent campaign funds.
“It is just one more thing in the state of Illinois that is embarrassing and makes us look ridiculous,” Tony McCombie, Republican candidate for state representative in the 71st House District, told Rock Island Today.
McCombie, a Realtor who has been mayor of Savanna since 2012, thinks that all elected politicians should be held more accountable for their campaign spending.
“As somebody who is running right now, when somebody gives me $20 or $100 or $500, I am accountable to them for giving that money; and it certainly shouldn’t be for my own personal expense or for me to be socializing with my friends,” she told Rock Island Today. "It should be for me to get my word across to the voters."
The auditor general scandal began after the General Assembly last fall appointed State Rep. Mautino (D-Spring Valley), also the former deputy House majority leader, to be auditor general upon the retirement of his predecessor.
Though no longer running for office, Mautino reportedly continued to raise and inappropriately spend campaign cash, according to independent groups the Edgar County Watchdogs and OpenTheBooks.com.
For instance, more than $213,000 in campaign gas and vehicle repairs was paid by Mautino’s political committee beginning in 2005 to Happy’s Super Service Station in the then-representative’s hometown of Spring Valley, according to the Edgar County Watchdogs.
“I run a driving school and I don’t spend that much in fuel and if you look at where he spent the fuel it was a Happy station — it was one station," Republican Brandi McGuire, a candidate seeking to represent the 72nd State House District, told Rock Island Today. "Who gets gas only at one station every time? There are a lot of questions there."
Meanwhile, OpenTheBooks.com quantified Mautino’s state travel reimbursement payments (taxpayer money) amounting to nearly $30,000 since 2005 for travel related to legislative duties and service on the audit commission.
Such disclosures have angered and disappointed numerous Republican candidates across the state.
In fact, McCombie said she would love to see an expanded and ongoing investigation that questions several officials about their campaign funds.
Regarding Mautino, McGuire thinks he should step up and explain his actions, particularly since the auditor general is a 10-year position.
“I hope that he truly does come forward and actually give a statement because it seems like right now he is not actually giving a statement," McGuire said. "It is his staff members who are giving out statements."
There also should be more transparency, she said.
“We need to have more eyeballs in there watching this,” McGuire added.
To see a list of some of Mautino's expenditures, go to: http://edgarcountywatchdogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Expenditure-List-Printable-TOTAL.pdf.
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